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^ CoUeae ' 

.FROM 

...... Malo.o.li 

Arguaon... 


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library 






CONDON- 

BPADOORV «. EVANS, BOUYERie STftRK 

iaS7 



• -i ■* 



LITTLE DOKRIT 



BY 



CHAELES DICKENS. 



WITH nXUSI&ATIONS BT H. K. BSOWNE. 



LONDON : 
BBADBX7BY AND EVANS, 11, BOUVERIE STREET. 

1867. 



^/«4(»<f .7*.i^'^ 



/harvard 
university 

LIBRARY 



>' 



' -/ 



LOXDOH 
P1UOBVKT Am IYAK% WUH T B tf, 



> 'NX 



DEDICATED 



TO 



CLARKSON STANFIELD, R.A., 



BY HIS ATTACHED FRIEND. 



PREFACE, 



I HAVE been occnpied with this story, daring many working 
hours of two years. I most have been yery ill employed, if I 
could not leave its merits and demerits as a whole, to express 
themselves on its being read as a whole. But, as it is not 
unreasonable to suppose that I may have held its various 
tiureads with a more continuous attention than any one else 
can have given to them during its desultory publication, it 
is not unreasonable to ask that the weaving may be looked at 
in its completed state, and with the pattern finished. 

• 

If I might oflFer any apology for so exaggerated a fiction as 
the Barnacles and the Circumlocution Office, I would seek it 
in the common experience of an Englishman, without pre- 
suming to mention the unimportant fact of my having done that 
violence to good manners, in the days of a Bussian war, and of 
a Court of Enquiry at Chelsea. If I might make so bold as 
to defend that extravagant conception, Mj:. Merdle, I would 
hint that it originated after the Railroad-share epoch, in the 
times of a certain Irish bank, and of one or two other equally 



Ti * PBEFACK. 



laudable enterprises. If I were to plead anything in mitigation 
of the preposterous fancy that a bad design will sometimes 
claim to be a good and an expressly religious design, it would 
be the curious coincidence that it has been brought to its climax 
in these pages, in the days of the public examination of late 
Directors of a Iloyal British Bank. . But, I submit myself to 
suffer judgment to go by default on all these counts, if need 
be, and to accept the assurance (on good authority) that 
nothing like them was ever known in this land. 

Some of my readers may have an interest in being informed 
whether or no any portions of the I^Iarshalsea Prison are yet 
standing. I did not know, myself, until the sixth of this 
present month, when I went to look. I found the outer front 
courtyard, often mentioned in this story, metamorphosed into 
a butter-shop ; and I tlien almost gave up every brick of the 
jail for lost. Wandering, however, dovm a certain adjacent 
** Angel Court, leading to Bermondsey," I came to " Marshalsea 
Place:" the houses in which I recognised, not only as the 
great block of the former prison, but as preserving the 
rooms that arose in my mind*s-eye when I became Little 
Dorrit's biographer. The smallest boy I ever conversed 
mth, carrying tlie largest baby I ever saw, offered a super- 
naturally intelligent explanation of the locality in its old uses, 
and was very nearly correct. How this young Newton (for 
such I judge him to be) came by his information, I don*t 
know; he was a quarter of a centuiy too young to know 
anything about it of himself. I pointed to tlie window of the 
room where Little Dorrit was bom, and where her father lived 
so long, and asked him what was the name of the lodger who 
tenanted that apartment at present ? He said '' Tom Pythick." 



'iitiii 






CONDON 
-BBAOBURV & EVANS, BO U V KM K ^iT Rh ' 



X 



CONTENTS. 



r 

I 



OHAP. PAOB 

'XVL— Npbodj^ l^^knejw 136 

^^¥IL— ^ob$dj>,]Rival 146 

XVIIL— little Dorrit'B Lover 153 

XDC — ^Thc Father of the Marshalsea in two or three Relatioxu 161 

XX. — Moving i n > Society ^ ...... 169 

XXL— Mr. Merdle'8 CompLiint 180 

XXIL— A Puaszle 186 

, XXIII. — Machinery in Motion . . . 193 

\ 

\ XXIV.— Fortune-Telling- . . .205 

• \ 
\ 

^ ^^ XXV.— Conspirators and Others 217 

XXVL— NobodVs State of Mind 225 

XXVn.— Five-and-Twenty 235 

"XKVUL — Nobody^sJ>isappearance . . ,ii_ . • 244 

XXIX. — ^Mrs. Flintwinch goes on Dreaiiung . . . 250 

XXX. — ^The Word of a Gentleman 257 

XXXL— Spirit 269 

XXXIL— More Fortune-Telling " . ' 281 

XXXnL— Mrs. Merdle's Complaint . .' . . . 289 

XXXIV.— A Shoal of Barnacles 297 

XXXV.— What was behind Mr. Pancks on Little Donif • Hand 304 

XXXVI. — ^The Marshalsea becomes an Orphan 314 

THE END or rHE FIRST BOOK. 



CONTKKTS. xi 



BOOK THE SECOND. \BICHES. 



^ - V.y ^ 





C«AP. - . ■ .,/ f HL^ / PACK 

L— FeUow TraveUers .^ . ^^l . \ . .323 

IL — ^Mrs. General 335 

m— On the Road ........ 338 

rV. — A Letter from Little DorriC . - . , . . 350 

y. — Something Wrong Somewhere . ,'■ . 353 

VX — Something Bight Somewhere ... . . 305 

VEL — Mostly, Prunes and Prism . . . .376 

VIIL — ^The Dowager Mrs. Gowan is reminded that *' It 

Never Does." 385 

— Appearance and Disappearance .... 394 

Z/^X. — ^The Dreams of Mrs. Flintwinch tliiclnjii . . . 406 

XL — A Letter from Little Dorrit . . . .412 

Xn. — In which a Great Patriotic Conference is holdeu . . 417 

XIIL — ^The Progress of an Epidemic 428 

XTV.— Taking Advice 440 

XV. — No Just Cause or Impediment why these Two Persons 

should not be joined together • . • . 449 

XVL— Getting on 401 

XVIL— Missing C . . . . r . .467 

XVIIL— A CasUe in the Air 475 

XIX.— The Storming of the Castle in the Air . . . 481 

XX. — ^Introducea the next 493 



xu CONTSKTa 

ORAP. PACB 

XXI.— The Hisiofy of a Self-Tonnenior .... 500 

XXIL— Who passes by tliiB Road BO late 7 . . 507 

XXm. — Mrs. Flintwinoh makes a ConditioDal Promise, respect- 
ing her Dreams ...... 513 

XXrV. — ^The Evening of a Long Day 523 

XXY.— The Chief Butler Resigns the Seals of Office . 531 

XXYI— Reaping the Whirlwind 538 

XXVIL— The PupU of the Marshalsea 5i5 

XXVUL — ^An Appearance in the Marshalsea 556 

XXIX.— A Plea in the Marshalsea 570 

XXX. — Closing in 577 

XXXL— aosed 595 

XXXH— Going 602 

XXXin.— Gk>ing ! 608 

XXXIV.— Gone 616 



LITTLE DORRIT. 



IN TWO BOOKS. 



BOOK THE FIEST. POVERTY. 



CHAPTER L 

SUN AND SHADOW. 

Thtrty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day. ^ 

A blazing sun upon a fierce August day was no greater rarity in 
southern France then, than at any other time, before or since. Every 
thing in Marseilles, and about Marseilles, had stared at the fervid 
sky, and been stared at in return, until a staring habit had become 
universal there. Strangers were staroil out of countenance by staring 
white houses, staring white walls, staring white streets, staring tracts 
of arid road, staring hills from which verdure was burnt away. The 
only things to be seen not fixedly staring and glaring were the vines 
drooping under their load of grapes. These did occasionally wink a 
little, as the hot air barely moved their faint leaves. 

There was no wind to make a ripple on the foul water within the 
harbor, or on the beautiful sea without. The line of demarcation 
between the two colors, black and blue, showed the point which the 
pure sea would not pass ; but it lay as quiet as the abominable pool, 
with which it never mixed. Boats without awnings were too hot to 
touch ; ships blistered at their moorings ; the stones of the quays had 
not cooled, night or day, for months. Hindoos, Russians, Chinese, 
Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Genoese, ^Neapolitans, 
Venetians, Greeks, Turks, descendants from all the builders of Babel, 
come to trade at Marseilles, sought the shade alike — taking refuge in 
any hiding-place froia a sea too intensely blue to be looked at, and a 
sky of purple, set with one great flaming jewel of fire. 

The universal stare made the eyes ache. Towards the distant line of 
Italian coast, indeed, it was a httle relieved by light clouds of mist, 
sioirly rising fix)m the evaporation of the sea ; but it softened nowhere^ 
else. Far away the staring roads, deep in dust, stared from the hill- 



2 LITTLE DOBBTT. 

side, stared from the hollow, stared from the interminahle plain. Far 
away the dusty vines overhanging wayside cottages, and the monotonous 
wayside avenues of parched toes without shade, drooped beneath the 
stare of earth and sky. So did the horses with drowsy bells, in long 
files of carts, creeping slowly towards the interior; so did their 
recumbent drivers, when they were awake, which rarely happened ; so 
did the exhausted laborers in the fields. Everything that lived or 
grew, was oppressed by the glare ; except the mard, passing swiftly 
over rough stone walls, and Uio cicala, chirping his dry hot chirp, like 
a rattle. The very duBt was scorched brown, and stoiething quivered 
in the atmosphere as if the air itself were panting. 

Blinds, shutters, curtains, awnings, were all closed and drawn to 
keep out the stare. Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot in 
like a white-hot arrow. The churches, were the freest from it. To 
come out of the twilight of pillars and arches— dreamily dotted yri^ 
winking lamps, dreamily peopled with ugly old shadows piously 
dozing, spitting, and begging — -was to plunge into a fiery river, and 
awim for life to the nearest strip of shade. So, with people lounging 
and l3ring wherever shade was, with but little hum of tongues or bark- 
ing of dogs, with occasional jangling of discordant church bells, and 
rattling of vicious drums, Marseilles, a fact to bo strongly smelt and 
tasted, lay broiling in the siin one day. 

In Marseilles that day there was a villainous prison. In one of its 
chambers, so repulsive a place that even the obstrusive stare blinked at 
it, and left it to such refuse of reflected light as it could find for itself, 
were two men. Besidev the two men, a notched and disfigored bench, 
immoveable from the wall, i^-ith a draught-bpard rudely hacked upon 
it with a knife, a set of draughts, made of old buttons and soup bones, 
a set of dominoes, two mats, and two or throi^ wine botlks. That was 
all the chamber held, exclusive of rats and other unseen vermin, in 
addition to the seen vermin, the two men. 

It received such light as it got, through a grating of iron bars, 
fashioned like a pretty large window, by means of which it could be 
always inspected from, the gloomy staircase on which the grating gave. 
There was a broad strong ledge of stone to this grating, where the 
bottom of it was let into the masomy, three or four feet above the 
ground. Upon it, one of the two men lolled, half sitting and hall' 
l}'ing, with his knees drawn up, and his feet and slioulders planted 
against the opposite sides of the aperture. Tlie bars were Sudde enough 
apart to adniit of his tlirusting his arm through to the elbow ; and so 
he held on negligently, for his greater ease. 

A prison taint was on ever}* thing then*. The imprisoned air, the 
imprisoned light, the imprisoned dumps, the imprisoned men, wen^ all 
(leterionited by confinement. As the captive men were faded and 
haggard, so the iron was rusty, the stone was slimy, the wood was 
ixitten, the air was faint, the light was dim. Like a well, like a vault, 
like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightnt^s ont^^ide ; 
and would have kept its polluted atmosphere intact, in one of the ppicc 
islands of the Indian Ocean. 

The man who lay on the ledge of the gniting v/as even chilled. He 
jerked liis great cloak more heavily upon him b}- an tmptitient move- 



* .. 



■t 



v,» 



XJTTLB DORRTT. 8 

ment of one ahonldcry and growled, ** To tlio devil \A\h this Brigand of 
a Sun that never shines in here ! '' 

He was waiting to be fed ; looking sideways through the bars, that he 
might sec the farther down the stairs, with much of the expression of 
a wild beast in similar expectation. But his eyes, too close together, 
were not so nobly set in his head as those of the king of beasts are in 
his, and they were sharp rather than bright — pointed weapons with 
little soifeuie to betray them. They had no depth or change ; they 
glittered, and they opened and shut. So for, and waiting their use to 
himself, a dockmaker could have made a better pair. He had a hook 
nose, handsome after its kind, but too high between the eyes, by 
probably just as much as his eyes were too near to one another. For 
the rest, he was large and tall in frame, had thin lips, where his thick 
moustache showed them at all, and a quantity of dcy hair, of no 
definable color, in its shaggy state, but shot with red. The hand with 
which he held the grating (seamed all over the back with ugly 
scratches newly healed) was imusually small and plump ; would have 
been miusually white, but for the prison grime. 

The other man was lying on the stone floor, covered with a coarse 
brown eoat. 

" Get up, pig! *' growled the first. ** Don't sleep when I am hungry." 

'' If 8 all one, master," said the pig, in a submissive manner, and not 
without cheerfulness ; "I can woke when I will, I can sleep when I 
will. If s all the same." 

As he said it, he rose, shook himself, scratched himself, tied his 
brown coat loosely round his neck by the sleeves (he had previously 
used it as a coverlet), and sat down upon the pavement ya>vning, with 
his back against the waU opposite to the grating. 

"Say what the hour is," grumbled the first man. 

"The mid-day bells will ring ^in forty minutes." "WTien he 

made the little pause, ho had looked round the prison-room, as if for 
certain information. 

" You are a clock. How is it that you always know ? " 

" How can I say ! I always know what the hour is, and where I am. 
I was brought in here at night, and out of a boat, but I know where I 
am. See here ! Marseilles Harbor ; " on his knees on the pavement, 
mapping it all out with a swarthy forefinger; "Toulon (where the galleys 
arc), Spain over there, Algiers over there. Creeping away to the left 
here, Nice. Bound by the Cornice to Genoa. Genoa Mole and Harbor. 
Quarantine Ground. City there; terrace-gardens blushing with the 
bella donna. Here, Porto Fine. Stand out for Leghorn. Out again for 
Civita Vecchia. So away to— hey! there's no room for Naples;" he 
had got to the waU by this time ; " but if s all one ; it's in there ! " 

He remained on his knees, looking up at his fellow prisoner with a 
lively look for a prison. A sunburnt, quick, lithe, little man, though 
rather thickset. Ear-rings in his bro\sTi ears, white teeth lighting up 
his grotesque brown face, intensely black hair clustering about his 
brown throat, a ragged red shirt open at his bro>\Ti breast. Loose, 
soomanlike trousers, decent shoes, a long red cap, a red sash round his 
waist, and a knife in it. 

" Judge if I come back from Naples as I went ! See here, my 

B 2 



4 XITTLB DORBTI. 

master! Civita Ycccbia, Leghorn, Porto Fino, Genoa, Coniico, Off 
l^ice (which is in there), Marseilles, you and me. The apartment of the 
jailer and his keys is where I put this thumh ; and here at my wrist, 
th^ keep the national razor in its case— the guillotine locked up." 

The ower man spat suddenly on the pavement, and gurgled in his 
throat. 

8ome lock below gurgled in its throat immediately afterwards, and 
then a door clashed. Slow steps began ascending the stairs; the 
prattle of a sweet little voice mingled with the noise they made ; and 
the prison-keeper appeared, carrying his daughter, three or four years 
old, and a basket. 

** How goes the world this forenoon, gentlemen ? My little one, you 
see, going round with me to have a peep at her other's birds. Pie, 
then ! Look at the birds, my pretty, lock at the birds." 

He looked sharply at the birds himself, as he held the child up at 
the grate, especially at the little bird, whose activity he seemed to 
mistrust. '' I have brought your bread. Signer John Baptist," said he 
(thej all spoke in Prench, but the little man was an Itauan) ; ** and if 
I might recommend you not to game—" 

"You don't recommend the master!" said John Baptist, showing 
his teeth as he smiled. 

'' Oh ! but the master wins," returned the jailer, with a passing look 
of no particular liking at the other man, ** and you lose. Ifs quite 
another thing. You get husky bread and sour drink by it; and he 
gets sausage of Lyons, veal in savory jelly, white broad, strachino 
cheese, and good wine by it. Look at the birds, my pretty !" 

" Poor birds !" said the child. 

The fair little face, touched with divine compassion, as it peeped 
shrinkingly through the grate, was like an angel's in the prison. John 
Baptist rose and moved towards it, as if it had a good attraction for 
him. The other bird remained as before, except jfor an impatient 
glance at the basket. 

"Stay!" said the jailer, putting his little daughter on the outer 
ledge of the grate, " she shall feed the birds. This big loaf is for 
Signor John Baptist. We must break it to get it through into the cage. 
So, there's a tame bird, to kiss the little hand! This sausage in a 
vine-leaf is for Monsieur Bigaud. Again — this veal in savory jelly is 
for Monsieur Rigaud. Again — ^these three white little loaves are for 
Monsieur Kigaud. Again, this cheese — again, this wine — again, this 
tobacco — all for Monsieur Kigaud. Lucky bird !" 

The child put all these things between the bars into the soft, 
smooth, well-shaped hand, with evident dread — ^morc than once drawing 
buck her oi^Ti, and looking at the man with her fair brow roughened 
into an expression half of fright and half of anger. Whereas, she had 
put the lump of coarse bread into the swart, scaled, knotted hands of 
John Baptist (who had scarcely as much nail on his eight fingers and 
two thumbs as would have made out one for Monsieur Bigaud), with 
ready confidence ; and, when he kissed her hand, had herself passed 
it caressingly over his face. Monsieur Bigaud, indifferent to this dis- 
tinction, propitiated the father by laughing and nodding at the daughter 
as often os she gave him anything; and, so soon as he had all hia 



UTTLB DOKsrr. ' 5 

Tiandi about him in convenient nooks of the ledge on which he rested, 
began to eat with an appetite. 

When Monaionr Rigand l aughe d, a change took place in his face, 
that was moro remarkable than prepossessing. His moustache went 
up under his nose, and his nose came down over his moustache, in a 
Teiy s inister and cruel manner. 

'' Iliere!" said the Jailer, turning his basket upside down to beat 
the crumbs out, '' I have expended all the money I received ; here is 
the note of it, and M0^« a thmg accomplished. Monsieur Rigaud, as I 
expected yesterday, the President will look for the pleasure of your 
society at an hour after mid-<}ay, to-day.'' 

** To try me, eh ?" said Rigaud, pausing, knife in hand and morsel 
in mouth. 

" You have said it. To try you." 

" There is no news for me r' asked John Baptist, who had begun, 
oontentedly, to munch his bread. 

The jailer shrugged his shoulders. 

** Lady of mine ! Am I to lie here all my life, my father ?** 

"What do I know ! " cried the jailer, turning upon him with southern 
quickness, and gesticulating with both his hands and all his fingers, as 
if he were threatening to tear him to pieces. ** My friend, how is it 
possible for me to tell how long you are to lie here ? What do I know, 
John Biqitist Cavalletto ? Death of my life ! There are prisoners here 
sometimes, who are not in such a de\dl of a hurry to be tried." 

He seemed to glance obliquely at Monsieur Rigaud in this remark ; 
but Monsieur Rigaud had already resumed his meal, though not with.- 
quite so quick an appetite as before. ^ 

" Adieu,- my Urds ! " said the keeper of the prison, taking his pretty 
child in his^atms, and dictating the words with a kiss. 

" Adieu, ^mgr birds !" the pretty child repeated. 

Jttr innocent jfoce looked back so brightly over his shoulder, as he 
walked away with her, singing her the song of the child's game : 

" Wbo panes by this road so late ? 

Compagnon de la Majolaine ! 
Who pa«6i by this road so late ? 
Always gay ! ** 

that John Baptist felt it a point of honor to reply at the grate, and, 
in good time and tune, though a little hoarsely : 

** Of all the hinges knights 'tis the flower, 
Compagnon de la Migolaine ! 
Of all the kin^s knights 'tis the flower. 
Always gay ! " 

Which accompanied them so far down the few steep stairs, that the 
prison-keeper had to stop at last for his little daughter to hear the song 
out, and rroeat tfaf Refrain while they were yet in sight. Then the 
ehild's head disappeared, and the prison-keeper's head disappeared, but 
the little vmee prolonged the strain until the door clashed. 

Monsieur Rigaud, finding the listening John Baptist in his way before 
tte echoes had ceased (even the echoes were the weaker for imprison- 
md seemed to lag), reminded him with a push of his foot that ho 



0" UTTLB DOKBIT. 

had better rceumo his own darker place. The little man sat down 
again upon the pavement, with the negligent ease of one who was 
thoronghly accustomed to payements ; and placing three hnnks of coarse 
bread before himsdfy and falling to upon a fourth, began contentedly to 
work his way through them, as if to clear them off were a sort of game. 

Perhaps he glanced at the Lyons sausage, and peihape he glanced at 
the veal in savory jelly, but they were not there long, to make his 
mouth water ; Monsieur Bigaud soon dispatched them, in spite of the 
president and tribunal, and proceeded to suck his fingers as dean as ho 
eould, and to wipe them on his vine leaves. Then, as he paused in his 
drink to contemplate his fellow-prisoner, his moustache went up, and 
his nose came.down. 

" How do you find the bread?" 

** A little dry, but I have my old sauce here,'' returned John 
Baptist, holding up his knife. 

"How sauce?" 

'' I can cut my bread so— like a melon. Or so— like an omelette. 
Or so— like a fried fish. Or so— like Lyons sausage," said John 
Baptist, demonstrating the various outs on the bread he held, and 
■oberiy chewing what he had in his mouth. 

"Here!" cried Monsieur Bigaud. "You may diink. Ton may 
finish this." 

It was no great gift, for there was mighty little wine left ; but 
Signer Oavalletto, jumping to his feet, received the bottle gratelully, 
turned it upside down at his mouth, and smacked his lips. 

" Put the bottle by with the rest," said Bigaud. 

The little man obeyed his orders, and stood ready to give him a 
lighted match ; for he was now rolling his tobacco into cigarettes, by 
the aid of little squares of paper which had been brought in with it. * 

" Here ! You may have one." 

** A thousand thanks, mr master ! " John Baptist said it in his own 
language, and with the quick conciliatory manner of his own countrymen. 

Monsieur Bigaud arose, lighted a cigarette, put the rest of his stock 
into a breast-pocket, and stretched himself out at Ml length upon the 
bench. Oavalletto sat down on the pavement, holding one of his ancles 
in each hand, and smoking peacefully. There seemed to be some 
uncomfortable attraction of Monsieur Bigaud* s eyes to the immediate 
neighbourhood of that part of the pavement where tiie thumb had been in 
the plan. They were so drawn in that direction, that the Italian more 
than once followed them to and back from the pavement in some surprise. 

" What an infernal hole this is !" said Monsieur Bigaud, breaking a 
long pause. " Look at the light of day. Day ? The light of yesterday 
week, the light of six months ago, the light of six years ago. So slack 
and dead!" 

It came languishing down a square funnel that blinded a window in the 
staircase wall, through which the sky was never seen — ^nor anything else. 

" Oavalletto," said Monsieur Bigaud, suddenly withdrawing his 
gaze from this funnel, to which they had both involuntarily turned 
their eyes, " you know me for a gentleman ?" 

"Surely, surely!" 

" How long have we been here ?" • 



I^ITTLB DOB&IT. 7 

" I, elovcn weeks, to-morrow night at midnight. You, nine weeks 
and three days, at five this afternoon." 

"Have I ever done anything here? Ever touched the hroom, or 
•mead the mats, or rolled them up, or found the draughts, or collected 
the dominoes, or put my hand to any kind of work ? " 

" Never ! " 

** Have you ever thought of looking to me to do any kind of work ?" 

John Baptist answered with that peculiar back-handed shake of the 
light fiarefingcr which is the most expressive negative in the Italian 
language. 

" No ! You knew from the first moment when you saw me here, 
that I was a gentleman ? " 

** Altro ! " returned John Baptist, closing his eyes and giving his 
head a most vehement toss. The word being, according to its Genoese 
emphasisy a confirmation, a contradiction, an assertion, a denial, a 
taunt, a compliment, a joke, and fifty other things, became in the present 
instance, with a significance beyond all power of written expression, 
our famiHAr English ** I believe you ! " 

** Haha ! You are right ! A gentleman I am ! And a gentleman 
rn live, and a gentleman I'll die ! It's my intent to be a gentleman. 
It^s ™y gft!"fti Death of my soul, I play it out wherever I go ! " 

He changed his posture to a sitting one, crying with a triumphant air : 

'' Here I am ! Bee me ! Shaken out of destiny's dice-box into the 
company of a mere smuggler ; — shut up mth a poor little contraband 
trader, whose papers are wrong, and whom the police lay hold of, besides, 
for placing his boat (as a means of getting beyond the frontier) at the 
dispiMition of other little people whose papers are wrong; and he 
instinctively recognises my position, even by &is light and in this place. 
•Ifi well done ! By Heaven ! I win, however the game goes." 

Again his moustache went up, and his nose came down. . 

"What's the hour, now ? " he asked, with a dry hot pallor upon him, 
rather difficult of association with merriment. 

" A little half-hour after mid-day." 

**Good! The President will have a gentleman before him soon. 
Come ! Shall I tell you on what accusation ? It must be now, or never, 
iaar I shall not return here. Either I shall go free, or I shall go to be 
made ready for shaving. You know where they keep the razor." 

Signer Cavalletto took his cigarette from between his parted lips, and 
showed more momentary discomfiture than might have been expected. 

" I am a" — Monsieur Kigaud stood up to say it — *' I am a cosmopo- 
litan gentleman. I own no particular coimtry. My father was Swiss 
— Canton do Vaud. My mother was French by blood, English by birth. 
I myself was bom in Belgium. I am a citizen of the world." 

His t heatri cal a ir, as he stood ynth. one arm on his hip, within the 
folds of his cloak, together with his manner of disregarding his com- 
panion and addressing the opposite wall instead, seemed to intimate that 
he waa r ehea rring for the IVesident, whose examination he was shortly 
to undexgo, riXKct than troubling himself merely to enlighten so small 
a person as John Baptist Cavalletto. 

" Call mc flve-and-thirty years of age. I have seen the world. I have 
lived here, and lived there, and lived like a gentleman everywhere. I have 




8 LITTLE DOBRIT. 

been treated and respected as a gentleman nnivcTBally. If you try to preju- 
dice me, by making out that I have lived by my wits — ^how do your lawyers 
live — ^vour politicians — yo\ir intriguers — ^your men of the Exchange?" 

He Icept his small smooth hand in constant requisition, as if it were 
a witness to his gentility, that had often done him good service before. 

" Two Tears ago I came to Marseilles. I admit that I was poor; I 
had been ill. When your lawyers, your politicians, your intriguers, your 
men of the Exchange, fall ill, and have not scraped money together, thetf 
become poor. I put up at the Cross of Crold, — kept then by Monsieur 
Henri Barronneau — sixty-five at least, and in a failing state of health. 
I had lived in the house some four months, when Monsieur Henri Bar- 
ronneau had the misfortune to die ; — at any rate, not a rare misfortune, 
that. It happens without any aid of mine, pretty often." 

John Baptist having smok^ his cigarette down to his fingers' ends, 
Momdcur Rigaud had the magnanimity to throw him another. He lighted 
the second at the ashes of the first, and smoked on, looking sideways at his 
companion, who, pre-occupied with his own case, hardly looked at him. 

" Monsieur Barronneau left a widow. Bhe was two*and-twenty. 
She had gained a reputation for beautv, and (which is often another 
thing) was bcautiM. I continued to live at the Cross of Gold. I 
married Madame Barronneau. It is not for me to say whether there 
was any great disparit}^ in such a match. Here I stand, with the con- 
tamination of a jail upon me ; but it is possible that you may think mo 
better suited to her than her fonner husband was." 

He had a certain air of being a handsome man — ^which he was not ; 
ft^ * certain air of being a weu-bred man — ^which he was not. It was 
ttcie swagger and challenge ; but in this particular, as in many others, 
^Mustering assertion goes for proof, half over the world. 
^ " Be it as it may> Madame Barronneau approved of me. That is not ' 
to TOxjudice me I hope ? " 

.. His eye happening to light upon John Baptist with this inquiry, that 
little man briskly shook his head in the negative, and repeated in an 
argumentative tone under his breath, altro, altro, altio, altro--«n infinite 
number of times. 

" Now came the difficulties of our position. I am pioud. I say 
nothing in defence of pride, but I am proud. It is also my character to 
govern. I can't submit; I must govern. Unfortunately, tne property of 
Madame Bigaod was settled upon herself. Such was the insane act of 
her late husband. More unfortunately still, she had relations. "Wlien 
a wife's relations interpose against a husband who is a gentleman, who 
is proud, and who must govern, the consequences are inimical to peace. 
There was yet another source of difference between us. Madame Rigaud 
was unfortunately a little vulgar. I sought to improve her manners and 
ameliorate her general tone ; she (supported in this likewise by her rela- 
tions) resented my endeavours. Quarrels began to arise between us ; 
and, propagated and exaggerated by the shoiders of the relations of 
Madame Kigaud, to become notorious to the neighbours. It has been 
said that I treated Madame Rigaud with cruelty. I may have been 
seen to slap her fiure — ^nothing more. I have a light hand ; and if I 
have been seen apparently to correct Madame Rigaud in that manner, 
I have done it almost playftilly." 



LITTLB DOBRrr. 

If the playfulness of Monsieur Rigaud were at all expressed by his 
pmile at this point, the relations of Madame Rigaud might have said 
that they would have much preferred his correcting that unfortunate 
icospiaii seriously. 

''I am sensitive and brave. I do not advance it as a merit to be sensitive 
and brave, but it is my character. If the male relations of MadamcA\ 
Rigaud had put themselves forward openly, I should have known how toll 
deal with them. They knew that, and their machinations were conducted 1^- 
in secret; consequently, Madame Rigaud and I were brought into frequent 
and unfortunate collision. Even when I wanted any little sum of money 
ibr my personal expenses, I could not obtain it without collision — and 1 
too, a man whose character it is to govern ! One night, Madame Rigaud 
and myself were walking amicably — ^I may say like lovers— on a height 
ovcrhimging the sea. Aji evil star occasioned Madame Rigaud to advert 
to her relations ; I reasoned with her on that subject, and remonstrated 
on tiie want of dut^ and devotion manifested in her allowing herself to be 
influenced by their jealous animosity towards her faasband. Madame 
Rigaud retorted, I retorted. Madame Rigaud gre^Nrarm ; I grew warm, 
and provoked her. I admit it. Frankness is a part of my character. 
At length, Madame Rigaud, in on access of fury that I must ever deplore, 
threw henelf upon me with screams of passion (no doubt those that were 
overheard at some distance), tore my clothes, tore my hair, lacerated my 
banda, trampled and trod the dust, and finally leaped over, dashingf^rself 
to death upon the rocks below. Such is the train of incidents 
malice has perverted into my endeavouring to force from Madame 
a retLpquishment of her lights ; and, on her persistence in a rei 
make the concession I requircd, struggling with her — assassinating hej 

He stepped aside to the ledge where the vine-loaves yet lay stre] 
about, collected two or three, and stood wiping his hands upon th^ 
with his back to the light. 

*• "Well," ho demanded after a silence, " have vou nothing to say 
aUthat?" 

** It's u g l y ." returned the little man, who had risen, and was brigh jib- 
ing his knife upon his shoe, as he leaned an arm against the wall. ^"^ 

"What do you mean?" 

John Baptist polished his knife in silence. 

** Do you mean that I have not rcpri^sentcd the case correctly ? " 

" Al-tro ! " returned John Baptist. The word was an apologj- now, 
and stood for, ** Oh, by no means ! " 

"What then?" 

" Presidents and tribunals arc so prejudiced." 

" Well ! " cried the other, uneasily flinging the end of his cloak over 
hia shoulder with an oath, '* Let them do their worst ! " 

" Truly I think they will," murmured John Baptist to himself, as he 
bent his head to put his knife in his sash. 

Nothing more was said on either side, though they both began walking 
to and firo, and necessorily crossed at everj- turn. Monsieur Rigaud 
sometimes half stopped, as if ho were going to put his case in a new 
light, or make some irate remonstrance ; but Signer Cavalletto continu- 
ing to go slowly to and fro at a grotesqiie kind of jog-trot pace, i^Hith 
ojes tamed downward, nothing came of these inclinings. 




10 UTTLB DOJEUUT. 

Byc-and-bye the noise of the key in the lock arrested them both. 
The sound of voices sucoeededy and the tread of fSdet. The door clashed, 
the voices and the feet came on, and the prison-keeper slowly ascended 
the stairs, followed by a guard of soldiers. 

** Now, Monsieur Bigaud," said he, pausing for a moment at the 
grate, with his keys in his hand, '' have the goodness to come out." 

" I am to depart in state, I see ?" 

" Why, unless you did," returned the jailer, " you might depart in 
so many pieces that it would be difficult to get you together again. 
There's a crowd, Monsieur Bigaud, and it doesn't love you." 

He passed on out of sight, and unlocked and unbarred a low door in 
the comer of the chamber. ''Now," said he, as he opened it and 
appeared within, '' come out." 

There is no sort of whiteness in all the hues under the sun, at all 
like the wh^tflOfiiB^ of Monsieur Bigaud's fisioe as it was then. Neither 
is there an^ expression of the human countenance at all like that 
expression, in every little line of which the frightened heart is seen to 
beat. Both are conventionally compared with death; but the difference 
is the whole deep gulf between the struggle done, and the fight at its 
moat desperate extremity. 

He lighted another of his paper cigars at his companion's ; put it 
tightly between his teeth ; covci^ his head with a soft slouched hat ; 
throw the end of his doak over his shoulder again ; and walked out 
into the side gallery on which the door opened, without taking any 
farther notice of Signer Cavalletto. As to that little man himself, his 
whole attention had become absorbed in getting near the door, and 
looking out at it Precisely as a beast might approach the opened gate 
of his den and eye the freedom beyond, he passed those few moments in 
watching and peering, until the door was closed upon him. 

■There was an officer in command of the soldiers ; a stout, serviceable^ 
profoun^ calm man, with his drawn sword in his hand, smoking a 
cigar. He very briefly directed the placing of Monsieur Bigaud in 
the midst of the party, put himself with consummate indifference at 
their head, gave the word ''march!" and so they all went jingling 
down the staircase. The door clashed — the key turned — and a ray of 
unusual light, and a breath of unusual air, seemed to have passed 
through the jail, vanishing in a tiny ^Tcath of smoke from the cigar. 

Stilly in his captivity, like a lower animal — ^like some impatient ape, 
or roused bear of the smaller species — ^the prisoner, now left solitary, 
had jumped upon the ledge, to lose no glimpse of this departure. As he 
vet stood clasping the grate with both hands, an uproar broke upon his 
hearing ; yells, shrieks, oaths, threats, ex^rations, all comprehended in 
it, though (as in a storm) nothing but a raging swell of sound distinctly 
heard. 

Excited into a still greater resemblance to a caged wild animal by his 
anxiety to know more, the prisoner leaped nimbly down, ran roimd the 
chamber, leaped nimbly up again, clasped the grate and tried to shake 
it, leaped down and ran, leaped up and listened, and never rested until 
the noise, becoming more and more distant, had died away. How many 
better prisoners have worn their noble hearts out so; no man thinking 
of it ; not even the beloved of their souls realising it ; great kings and 



LITTLB DOUBIT. 11 

govcoiQEB^ . vho had mado them captive, careering in the sunlight 
jauntily, and men cheering them on. Even the Baid groat personages 
dying in bed, Tnalring exemplary ends and sounding speeches; and 
polite history, more smdle than their instruments, embalming them ! 

At last, John Baptist, now able to choose his own spot within the 
compass of those wuls, for the exercise of his fEiculty of going to sleep 
when he would, lay down upon the bench, with his face turned over on 
his croMed arms, and slumbered. In his submission, in his lightness, 
in his good humour, in his short-lived passion, in his easy contentment 
with hard bread and hard stones, in his ready sleep, in his fits and 
starts altogether, a true son of the land that gave him birth. 

The wide stare s tared itself out for one wMe; the sun went down in 
a red, greeny golden glory; the stars came out in the heavens, and the 
fiie-fliea mimicked them in the lower air, as men may feebly imitate the 
goodness of a better order of beings; the long dusty roads and the 
intenninablo plains were in repose — ^and so deep a hush was on tho sea, 
that it scarcely whispered of the time when it shall give up its dead. 



CHAPTEE 11. 

FELLOW TBAYELLEBS. 

" No more of yesterday's howling, over yonder, to-day, sir; is there?" 

" 1 have heard none." 

" Then you may be sure there is none. When these people howl, 
they howl to be heard." 

" Most people do, I supjwse." 

*' Ah! But these people are always howling. JS'cvcr happy otherwise." 

** Bo you mean the Marseilles people ?" 

" I mean the French people. They're always at it. As to Marseilles, 
we know what Marseilles is. It sent the most huurrectionary tune 
into the world that was ever composed. It couldn't exist ^nthout 
allcmging and maxshonging to something or others— victory or death, or 
bbuEcs, or something." 

The speaker, with a whimsical good humour upon him all tho time, 
looked over the parapet- wall with the greatest disparagement of Mar- 
seiUes; and taking up a determined position, by putting his hands in his 
poeketo, and rattling his money at it, apostrophised it with a 8hort laugh. 

" AUong and marshong, indeed. It would be more creditable to you, 
I think, to let other people allong and marshong about their lawful 
business, instead of shutting 'em up in quarantine !" 

" Tiresome enough," said the other. " But we shall be out to-day." 

" Out to-day !" repeated the first. *' It's almost an aggravation of 
the enormitir, that we shall be out to-day. Out ! What have we over 
been in for?" 

**For no very strong reason I must say. But as we come from tho 
East, and as the East is the country of the plague — " 

" The plague !" repeated tiie other. " That's my grievance. I have 



12 lutle dobeit. 

had the plague continaallyy ever sinco I have been here. I am like a 
sane man shut up in a madhouse ; I can't stand the suspicion of the 
thing. I cieanc here as well as ever I was in my Hfe; but to suspect me 
of the plague is to give me the plague. And I have had it — and I have 
got it.'* 

" You bear it very well, Mr. Meagles/' said the second speaker, 
smiling. 

''No. If you knew the real state of the case, that's the last obser- 
vation you would think of making. I have been waking up, night 
after night, and saying, now I have got it, now it has developed itself, 
now I am infer it, now these fellows are making out their case for their 
precautions. Why, I'd as soon have a spit put through me, and be 
stuck upon a card in a collection of beetles, as lead the life I have been 
leading here." 

'' Well, Mr. Meagles, say no more about it, now it's over," urged a 
cheerful feminine voice. 

** Over!" repeated Mr. Meagles, who appeared (though without any 
ill-nature) to be in that peculiar state of mind in which the last woid 
spoken by anybody else is a new injury. " Over! and why should I 
say no more about it because it's over !'' 

It was Mrs. Meagles who had spoken to Mr. Meagles; and Mrs. 
Meagles was, like "Mi. Meagles, comely and healthy, with a pleasant 
English face which had been looking at homely things for five-and-fifty 
years or more, and shone with a bright reflection of them. 

"There! Never mind, Father, never mind!" said Mrs. Meagles. 
" For goodness sake content yourself with Pet." 

"With Pet?" repeated Mr. Meagles in his injured vein. Pet, 
however, being dose behind him, touched him on the shoulder, and 
Mr. Meagles immediately forgave Marseilles from the bottom of his 
heart. 

Pet was about twenty. A fair girl with rich brown hair hanging 
A'ee in natural ringlets. A lovely girl, with a frank face, and wonderfid 
eyes; so large, so soft, so bright, set to such perfection in her kind good 
head. She was round and fresh and dimpled and spoilt, and there was 
in Pet an air of timidity and dependence which was the best weakness 
in the world, and gave her the only crowning charm a girl so pretty 
and pleasant could have been without. 

"Now, I ask you," said Mr. Meagles in the blandest confidence, 
falling back a step himself, and handing his daughter a step forward to 
illustrate his question : " I ask you simply as between man and man, 
you know, DID you ever hear of such damned nonsense as putting Pet 
m quarantine?' 

" It has had the result of making even quarantine enjoyable." 

" Come !" said Mr. Meagles, " thaf s something, to be sure. I am 
obliged to you for that remark. Now Pet, my darling, you had better 
go along with Mother and get ready for the Ixmt. The officer of health, 
and a variety of humbugs in cockea hats, are coming off to let us out of 
this at last; and all we jail-birds arc to breakfast together in something 
approaching to a Christian style again, before we take wing for our 
different destinations. Tattycorom, stick you close to your young 
mistress." 



UTTLB DOILRIT. 13 

He spoke to a handsome girl with luBtrous dark hair and eyes, and 
very n^itlj dressed, who replied with a half curtsey as she passed off in 
the train of Mrs. Meagles and Pet. They crossed the bare scorched 
tcrraeey all three togeSier, and disappeared through a staring white 
archway. Mr. Meagles's companion, a graye dark man of forty, still 
stood looking towards this archway after they were gone ; until Mr. 
Meagles tapped him on the arm. 

" I beg your pardon, '* said he, starting. 

''Not at all," said Mr. Meagles. 

They took one silent turn backward and forward in the shade of the 
wall, getting, at the height on which the quarantine barracks are 
placed, what cool refreshment of sea breeze there was, at seven in the 
moniing. Mr. Meagles's companion resimicd the conversation. 

" May I ask you," he said, " what is the name of — ^** 

"Tattyooram?" Mr. Meagles struck in. "I have not the least 
idea." 

" I thought," said the other, " that—" 

** Tattycoram ? " su^ested Mr. Meagles again. 

'^ Thank you — ^that Tattycoram was a name; and I have several 
times wondered at the oddity of it." 

"Why, the fSact is," said Mr. Meagles, ''Mrs. Meagles and myself 
are, you see, practical people." 

" That, you have £rcqui^itly mentioned in the course of the agreeable 
and interesting conversations wo have had together walking up and 
down on these stones," said the other, with a half smile breaking 
through the gravity of his dark face. 

** Practical people. So one day, five or six years ago now, when wc 
took Pet to church at the Foimdling — ^you have heard of the Foundling 
Hospital in London? Similar to the Institution for the Found Children 
in Paris?" 

"I have seen it." 

" Well ! One day when we took Pet to church there to hear the 
muae— ^because, asjjractical people, it is the business of our lives to 
show her everything that we think can please her — ^Mother (my usual 
name for Mrs. Meagles) began to cry so, that it was necessary to take 
her out. * What's the matter, Mother ? * said I, when we had brought 
her a little round ; * you are frightening Pet, my dear.* * Yes, I know 
that. Father,' says Mother, *but I think it's through my loving her so 
much, that it ever came into my head.' ' That over what came into your 
head. Mother ? ' * dear, dear ! ' cried Mother, breaking out again, 
* when I saw all those children ranged tier above tier, and appealing 
from the fiither none of them has (;ver kno^vn on earth, to the great 
fiEither of us all in Heaven, I thought, does any wretched mother ever 
come here, and look among those young faces, wondering which is the 
poor child she brought into this forlorn world, never through all its life 
to know her love, her kiss, her face, her voice, even her name ! ' Now 
that was p ractic al in Mother, and I told her so. I said, * Mother, 
that's what I call practical in you, my dear.* " 

The other, not unmoved, assented. 

'* So I said next day : now, Mother, I have a proposition to make 
that I think you'll approve of. Let us take one of those same children 



14 UTILE DOBRIT. 

to be a littlo maid to Pet. We arc practical people. So if we should 
find lier temper a little defcetive, or any of her ways a little wide of 
ours, we shall know what wo have to take into accoimt. We shall 
know what an immense deduction must bo made from all the influences 
and experiences that have formed ii»— no parents, no child-brother or 
pister, no individuality of home, no Glass SUpper, or Fairy Grodmother. 
And that's the way we came by Tatt}-coram.*' 

" And the name itself — ^* 

" By George ! " said Mr. Meagles, " I was forgetting the name itself. 
Why, she was called in the Institution, Harriet Beadle — an arbitrary 
name, of course. Now, Harriet we change^finto Hotty^ and then into 
Tatty, because, as practical people, we thought even a playM name 
might be a new thing to her, and might have a softening and affectionate 
kind of effect, don't you see ? As to Beadle, that I needn't say was 
wholly out of tho question. If there is anything that is not to be 
tolerated on any t^'rms, anything that is a type of jack-in-office insolence 
and absunlity, an^-thing that represents in coats, waistcoats, and big 
sticks, our English holding<on by nonsense, after every one has found 
it out, it is a beadle. You haven't seen a beadle lately ? " 

'' As an Englishman, who has been more than twenty years in China, 
no." 

" Then," said Mr. Meagles, laying his forefinger on his companion's 
breast with great animation, '* don't you see a beadle, now, it* you can 
help it. Whenever I see a beadle in full fig, coming do^ni a street on 
a Sunday at the head of a charity school, I am obliged to turn and run 
away, or I should hit him. The name of Beadle being out of the question, 
and the originator of the Institution for these x>oor foundlings having 
Ix'en a blessed creatun^ of the name of Coram, wo gave that name to 
Pet*s little maid. At one time she was Tatty, and at one time she was 
Coram, until wo got into a way of mixing the two names together, and 
now she is alwajrs Tattyeoram." 

** Your daughter," said the other, when they had taken another silent 
turn to and tco, and after standing for a moment at the wall glancing 
(lo\i'n at the sea, had resumed their walk, '* is your only child, I know, 
Mr. Meagles. May I ask you — in no impertinent curiosity, but because 
I have had so much pleasure in your society, may never in this 
labyrinth of a world exchange a quiet word '^'ith you again, and viiah. 
to preserve an accurate n.»mcmbnmce of you and yours — may I ask 
you, if I have not gathen^i from your good wife that you have had 
other children ? " 

"No. No," said Mr. Meagles. "Not exactly other children. One 
other child." 

" I am afraid I have inadvertently toui-lud upon a tender theme." 

" Never mind," said Mr. Meagles. " If I am grave abont it, I am 
not at aU sorrowful. It quiets me for a momoitp but does not moke 
inc unhappy. Pet had a twin sister who died wlien we could just see 
her eye*— c»xactly like Pet's — above the table, as she stood on tiptoe 
holding by it." 

"Ah! indeed, indecHl?" 

" Yes, and being practical people, a result has graduoUy sprung up 
in the minds of Mrs. 3Ieagle8 and myself which perhaps you may— or 



LITTLB DORKIT. > 16 

peiliaps you may not — ^understand. Pet and her hahj sister were so 
ezaotfy alikey and so completely one, that in our thoughts we haTO 
never been able to separate them since. It would be of no use to tell 
us that oar dead child was a mere infant. AVe have changed that child 
acGoiding to the changes in the child spared to us, and always with us. 
As Pet has grown, that child has grown; as Pet has become more 
sensible and womanly, her sister has become more sensible and 
womanly, by just the same degrees. It would be as hard to convince 
me that if 1 was to pass into the other world to-morrow, I should not, 
through the mercy of Qod, be received there by a daughter just like 
Pety as to persuade mo that Pet herself is not a reality at my side." 

** I understand you," said the other, gently. 

"As to her," pursued her father, *'the sudden loss of her little 
pictore and playfellow, and her early association with that mystery in 
which we all have our equal share, but which is not often so forcibly 
presented to a child, has necessarily had some influence on her 
character. Then, her mother and I were not young when we married, 
and Pet has always had a sort of grown-up life >vith us, though we have 
tried to adapt oursclTes to her. We have been advised more than once 
when, die has been a little ailing, to change climate and air for her as 
often as we could — especially at about this time of her life — and to keep 
her amused. So, as I have no need to stick at a bank-desk now (though 
I have been poor enough in my time I assure you, or I should have 
married Mrs. Meagles long before), we go ti-otting about the world. 
This is how you found ua staring at the 2^ile, and the P}Tamids, and 
the Sphinxes, and the Desert, and all the rest of it ; and this is how Tat- 
tycoram will be a greater traveller in course of time than Captain Cook." 

" I thank you," said the other, ** very heartily for your confidence." 

" Don't mention it," returned Mr. Meagles, ** I am sure you are 
quite welcome. And now Mr. Clennam . perhaps I may ask you 
whether you have yet come to a decision wheiv to go next ? " 

"Indeed, no. I am such a is^iif and stray everj'where, that I am 
liable to be drifted where any current may set." 

" It's extraordinar}- to me — ^if you'U excuse my freedom in sa}'ing so 
— ^that you don't go straight to London," said Mr. Meagles, in the tone 
of a confidential ad^'iser. 

'* Perhaps I shall." 

'* Aye ! But I mean "\nth a will." 

** I hftvp Tin -wilL That is to say," he colored a little, **next to none 
that I can put in action now. Trained by main force ; broken, not 
bent ; heavily ironed with an object on which I was never consulted 
and which was never mine; sliii)ped away to the other end of the 
world before I was of age, and exiled thcTC until my father's death 
there, a year ago ; always grinding in a mill I always liated ; what is 
to be expected from me in middle-life ? Will, i)uq)ose, hojR' ? All 
those lights were extinguished before I could sound the words." 

** la^t 'em up again ! " said Mr. Meagles. 

"Ah! Easily said. I am the son, Mr. Meagles, of a hard father 
and mother. - I am the only child of parents who weighed, measured, 
mdprijpcd evcnrthing : for whom what could not be weiglu^d, measured 
ond priced, had no existence. Strict people as the phrase is, i)rofcssors 



16 UTTLB DOSRIT. 

of a stem religion, their ver}* religion was a gloomy sacrifice of tastes and 
sympathies that were never their own, offered up as a part of a bargain 
for me security of their possessions. Austere faces, inexorable discipline, 
penance in this world and terror in the next — ^nothing graceful or gcntlo 
anywhere, and the void in my cowed heart everywhere — this was my 
childhood, if I may so misuse tlic word as to apply it to such a beginning 
of life." 

''Eeally though?" said Mr. beagles, made very uncomfortable by 
the picture offered to his imagination. '' That was a tough commence- 
ment. But come ! You must now study, and profit by all that lies 
beyond it, like a practical man." 

'' If the people who arc usually called practical, were practical in 
your direction — " 

" Why, so they arc ! " said Mr. Meagles. 

"Are they indeed?" 

''Well, I suppose so," returned Mr. Meagles, thinking about it. 
" Eh ? One can but be practical, and Mrs. Meagles and myself are 
nothing else." 

'' My unknown course is easier and more hopeful than I had ex- 
pected to find it then," said Clennam, shaking his head with his gravo 
smile. '' Enough of me. Here is the boat ! " 

The boat was filled with the cocked hats to which Mr. Mcaglea 
entertained a national objection ; and the wearers of those cocked hats 
landed and came up the steps, and all the impounded travellers con- 
gregated together. There was then a mighty production of papers on 
the part of the cocked hats, and a calling over of names, and great 
work of signing, sealing, stamping, inking, and sanding, with exceed- 
ingly blurrt'd, gritty, and undtTiphcrablc results. Finally, everything 
was done according to rule, and the travellors were at liberty to depart 
whithersoever they would. 

They made little account of stare and glare, in the new pleasure of 
recovering their freedom, but fiitted across the harbor in gay boats, and 
re-assembled at a great hotel, whence the sun was excluded by closed 
lattices, and where bare paved floors, lofty ceilings, and resounding 
corridors, tempered the intense heat. There, a great table in a great 
room, was soon profusely covered with a superb repast; and the 
qiuirantine quarters became* bare indeed, remembered among dainty 
dishi^, southern fruits, cooled wines, flowers from Genoa, snow from the 
moimtoin tops, and all the colors of the rainbow flashing in the mirrors. 

"But I bear those monotonous walls no ill-will now," said Mr. Meagles. 
"One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it*s left behind; I daro 
say a prisoner In-gins to relent towards his prison, after he is let out." 

They wvTv a\)o\it tliirty in company, and all talking ; but necessarily 
in groups. Father and Mother 3i[eagle8 sjit vriih their daughter between 
them, the last three on one side of the table : on the op^wsite side sat 
Mr. Clennam ; a tall French gentleman with raven hair and beard, of 
a swart and terrible, not to say genteelly diabolical aspect, but who had 
shown himself the mildest of men ; and a handsome young English- 
woman, travelling quite alone, who had a proud obsen-ant face, and had 
eitlier M-ithdrawn hersc*lf from the rest or been avoided by the rest — 
nobody, herself excepte<l perhaps, could have quite decided which. The 



LmLE BORfilT. 17 

rest of the party were of the usual materials. Travellers on business, 
and traTolleTB for pleasure ; officers from India on leave ; merchants in 
the Chreek and Turkey trades ; a clerical English husband in a meek 
strait-waistooaty on a wedding trip with his young wife ; a majestic 
Sng^liflh mama and papa, of the patrician order, with a £Emiily of three 
growing up daught^, who were keeping a journal for the confusion of 
their Mlow creatures ; and a deaf old il^iglish mother tough in travel, 
with a very decidedly grown up daughter indeed, which daughter went 
sketching about the universe in the expectation of ultimately toning 
heradf c^ into the married state. 

The reserved Englishwoman took up Mr. Meagles in his last remark. 

** Do you mean Uiat a prisoner forgives his prison?'' said she, slowly 
and with emphasis. 

" That was my speculation. Miss Wade. I don't pretend to know 
positively how a prisoner might feel. I never was one before." 

''Mademoiselle doubts," said the French gentleman in his own 
language, " its being so easy to forgive ? " 

"I do." 

Pet had to translate this passage to Mr. Meagles, who never by any 
accident aoquirod any knowledge whatever of the language of any 
coantry into which ho travelled. '' Oh ! " said he. '' Dear me ! But 
thatfsapity, isn'tit?" 

** That I am not credulous ? " said Miss Wade. 

** Not exactly that. Put it another way. That you can't believe it 
easy to forgive." 

" My experience," she quietly returned, " has been correcting my 
belief in many respects, for some years. It is our natural progress, I 
have heard." 

" Well, well ! But it's not natural to bear malice, I hope ? " said 
Mr. Meagles cheerily. 

" if I had been shut up in any place to pine and suffer, I should 
always hate that plaice and wish to bum it down, or raze it to the 
ground. I know no more." 

" Strong, Sir ? " •said Mr. Meagles to the Frenchman ; it being 
another of his habits to address individuals of aU nations in idiomatic 
English, with a perfect conviction that they were bound to understand 
it somehow. ** Kather forcible in our fair friend, you'U agree with me, 
Ithink?" 

The French gentleman courteously replied, "Plait-il?" To which 
Mr. Meagles returned vrith. much sutisfaction, " You are right. My 
opinion." 

The breakfast beginning byc-and-bye to languisli, Mr. Meagles made 
the company a speech. It was short enough and sensible enough, con- 
fddcring that it was a speech at all, and hearty. It merely went to the 
effect that as they had all been thrown together by chance, and had all 
preserved a good understanding together, and were now about to dis- 
perse, and were not likely ever to find themselves idl together again, 
what could they do better than bid farewell to one another, and give 
one another good-speed, in a simultaneous glass of cool champagne all 
round the table ? It was done, and with a general shaking of hands 
the assembly broke up for ever. 



18 LITTLE DOREIT. 

The solitary young lady all this time had said no more. She rose 
with the rest, and nlcntly withdrew to a remote comer of the great 
room, where she sot herself on a conch in a window, seeming to watch 
the reflection of the water, as it made a silver quivering on the bars of 
the lattice. She sat, turned away from the whole length of the apart- 
ment, as if she were lonely of her own haughty choice. And yet it 
would have been as difficult as e\'er to say, positively, whether she 
avoided the rest, or was avoided. 

The shadow in which she sat, falling like a gloomy veil across her 
forehead, accorded very weU with the character of her beauty. One 
could hardly see the iace, so still and scornful, set off by the arched 
dark eyebrows, and the folds of dark hair, i^-ithout wondering what its 
expression would be if a change came over it. That it could soften or 
relent, appeared next to impossible. That it could deepen into anger 
or any extreme of defiance, and that it must change in that direction 
when it changed at all, would have been its peculiar impression upon 
most observers. It was dressed and trimmed into no ceremony of 
expression. Although not an open face, there was no pretence in it. 
I am self-contained and self-reliant; your opinion is nothing to me; 
I have no interest in you, care nothii^ for you, and see and hear you 
with indifference — ^this it said plainly. It said so in the pr oud ey es, in 
the lifted nostril, in the handsome, but compressed anT even ccOfiL 
mouth. Cover either two of those channels of expression, and the 
third would have said so still. Mask them all, and the mere turn of 
tlie head would have shown an unsuMuable nature. 

Pet had moved up to her (she had been the subject of remark among 
her family and Mr. Clennam, who were now the only other occupants 
of the room), and was standing at her side. 

"Are you" — she turned her eyes, and Pet faltered — "expecting 
any one to meet you here. Miss Wade ? " 

"I? No." 

" Father is sending to the Poste Rt^tonte. Shall he have the pleasure 
of directing the messenger to ask if there are any letters for you ? " 

" I thank him, but I know there can be none." 

** We are afraid," said Pet, sitting do'v^Ti beside her, shyly and half 
tenderly, " that you will feel quite desertt^l when we are all gone." 

"Indeed!" 

"Xot," said Pet, apologetically and embarrassed by her ej'es, " not, 
of course, that we are any company to you, or that we have been able 
to be so, or that we thought you wished it." 

" I have not intended to make it understood tliat I did wish it." 

" No. Of course. But — ^in short," said IVt, timidly touching her hand 
as it lay impassive on the sofa between them, ** will you not allow Father 
to render you any slight assistance or ser\*ice ? lie vnR be verj'' glad." 

" Ver}' glad," said Mr. Meagles, coming forward with his wife and 
Clennam. ** Anything short of s})eakiiig the language, I sliall be 
delighted to undertake, I am sure." 

" I am oblig(»d to you," she returned, "but my arrangements are 
made, and I prefer to go my own way in my own manner." 

" 1/0 you ? " said Mr. Meagles, to liimsi'lf, as he sur\'eyed her with 
a puzzled look. " Well ! There's character in that, too. 




LmiiE DOBBIT. 19 

" I am not much used to the society of young ladies, and I am a£raid 
I may not show my appreciation of it as others might. A pleasant 
joumey to you. Gt>od hye ! " 

She woidd not have put out her hand, it seemed, hut that Mr. 
Meaglcs put out his so straight heforc her, that she could not pass it. 
She put hers in it, and it lay there just as it had lain ujKtn the couch. 

** Good hye ! " said Mr. Meagles. ** This is the last good hye upon 
the list, for Mother and I have just said it to Mr. Clennam* here, and 
he only waits to say it to Pet. (rood hye ! We may never meet again." 

" In our course through life we shall meet the people who are coming 
to meet tu^ from many strange places and hy many strange roads," was 
the oompoeed reply ; *' and what it is set to us to do to them, and what 
it is set to them to do to us, will all he done." 

There was something in the manner of these words that jarred upon 
Pefs ear. It implied that what was to he done was necessarily evil, 
and it caused her to say in a whisper, '* 0, Father ! " and to shrink 
childishly in her spoilt way, a little closer to him. This was not lost 
on. the speaker. 

"Your pretty daughter," she said, "starts to think of such things. 
Yet," lookmg foil upon her, ** you may he sure that there arc men and 
women already on ^eir road, who have their husiness to do with you,^ 
and who will do it. Of a certainty they will do it. They may he coming 
hnndreds, thousands, of miles over the sea there ; they may he close at 
hand now ; they may he coming, for anji;hing you know, or anything 
you can do to prevent it, from the \'ilcst sweepings of this very town." 

"With the coldest of ferewclls, and with a certain worn expression on 
her heauty that gave it, though scarcely yet in its prime, a wasted look, 
she left the room. 

^ow, there were many stairs and passages that she had to traverse 
in passing from that part of the spacious house to the chamber she had 
secured for her own occupation. When she had almost completed the 
joumey, and was passing along the gallery in which her room was, she 
heard an angry sound of muttering and sobbing. A door stood open, 
and within she saw the attendant upon the girl she had just left ; the 
maid with the curious name. 

She stood still, to look at this maid. A sullen, passionate girl ! 
Her rich hlack hair was all about her face, her face was flushed and 
hot, and as she sobbed and raged, she plucked at her lips with an 
un-sparing hand. 

" Selfish brutes !" said the girl, sobbing and heaving between whiles. 
" Not earing what becomes of me ! Leaving me here himgry and thirsty 
and tired, to starve, for anything they care! Beasts! Dc\'il8! Wretches!" 

** My poor girl, what is the matter? " 

She looked up suddenly, with reddened eyes, and with her hands 
suspended, in the act of pinching her neck, freshly disfigured with 
great scarlet blots. ** It*s nothing to you what's the matter. It don't 
«ignify to any one." 

•* O yes it does ; I am sorry to see you so." 

" You arc not sorry," said the girl. '* You arc glad. You know 
you are glad. I never was like this but twice, ovct in the (luarantine 
yonder ; and both times you found me. I am afraid of you." 

c 2 



»^ 



20 LITTLE BOBRIT. 

"Afraid of mc?" 

** Yes. You seem to come like my own anger, my own malice, my 
o>vTi — whatever it is — I don't know what it is. But I am ill-used, 1 
am ill-used, I am ill-used ! '' Here the sobs and the tears, and iho 
tearing hand, which had all been suspended together, since the first 
surprise, went on together anew. 

The visitor stood looking at her 'Vt'ith a strange attentive smile. It was 
wonderful to see the fury of the contest in the girl, and the bodily struggle 
she made as if she were rent by the Demons of old. 

** I am younger than she is by two or three years, and yet it's me that 
looks after her, as if I was old, and it's she that's always petted and 
called Baby ! I detest the name. I hate her. They make a fool of her, 
they spoil her. She thinks of nothing but herself, she thinks no more of 
me than if I was a stock and a stone ! " So the girl went on. 

** You must have patience." 

" I wm't have patience ! " 

*' K tlioy tAo much care of themselves, and little or none of you, 
you most not mind it." 

"Ifri«mindit!" 

" Hush ! Be more prudent. You forget your dependent position." 

** I don't care for that. I'll run away. I'll do some mischief. I won't 
bear it ; I can't bear it ; I shall die if I try to bear it! " 

The observer stood with her hand upon her own bosom, looking at 
the girl, as one afflicted with a diseased part might curiously watch the 
dissection and exposition of an analogous case. 

The girl raged and battled with all the tbrcc of her youth and fdlncss 
of life, until by little and little her passionate exclamations trailed off 
into broken murmurs as if she were in pain. By corresponding degrees 
she sunk into a chair, then upon her knees, then upon the ground beside 
the bed, drawing the coverlet with her, half to hide her shamed head 
and wet hair in it, and half, as it seemed, to embrace it, rather than 
have nothing to take to her repentant breast. 

" Go away from me, go away from me ! "When my temper comes upon 
me, I am mad. I know I might keep it off if I only tried hard enough, 
and sometimes I do try hard enough, and at other times I don't and 
won't. What have I said ! I knew, when I said it, it was all lies. They 
think I am being taken care of somewhere, and have all I want. They 
are nothing but good to me. I love them dearly ; no people could ever 
be kinder to a thankless creature than they always are to me. Do, do 
go away, for I am afraid of you. I am afraid of myself when I feel 
my temper coming, and I am as much afraid of you. Cro away from 
me, and let me pray and cry myself better I " 

The day passed on ; and again the wide stare stared itself out ; and the 
hot night was on Marseilles; and through it the caravan of the morning, 
all dispersed, went their appointed wap. And thus ever, by day and 
night, imdcr the sun and under the stars, climbing the dusty hills and 
toiling along the weary plains, journeying by land and journeying by sea, 
coming and going so strangi^ly, to meet and to act and react on one 
another, move all we restless travellers through the pilgrimage of life. 



LITIXE DORKrr. ill 



r 



CHAPTEE ni. 

HOME. 

It was a Sunday evening in London, gloomy, close and stale. Mad- 
dening ehnrch bells of all degrees of dissonance, sharp and flat, cracked 
and dear, hst and slow, made the brick and mortar echoes hideous. 
Melandioly streets in a penitential garb of soot, steeped the souls of the 
people who were condemned to look at them out of windows, in dire 
despondency. In every thoroughfare, up almost every alley, and down 
almost every turning, some dold^ bell was throbbing, jeriong, tolling, 
as if the Plague were in the city and the dead-carts were going round. 
Everything was bolted and barred that could by passibility fdmish 
relief to an overworked people. Xo pictures, no unfianiliar animals, no 
rare plants or flowers, no natural or artiflcial wonders of the ancient 
world — all tahoo with that enlightened strictness, that the ugly South 
sea gods in the Britbh Museum might have supposed themselves at home 
again* Nothing to see but streets, streets, streets. Nothing to breathe 
but streets, streets, streets. Nothing to change the brooding mind, or 
raise it up. Nothing for the spent toiler to do, but to compare the 
monotony of his seventh day with the monotony of his six days, think 
what a weary life he led, and make the best of it — or the worst, according 
to the probabilities. 

At such a happy time, so propitious to the interests of religion and 
morality, Mr. Arthur Clennam, newly arrived from Marseilles by way of 
Dover, and by Dover coach the Blue-eyed Maid, sat in the window of a 
coffee house on Ludgate Hill. Ten thousand responsible houses sur- 
rounded him, frowning as heavily on the streets they composed, as if 
they were every one inhabited by the ten young men of the Calender's 
story, who blackened their faces and bemoaned their miseries every 
night. Fifty thousand lairs surrounded him where people lived so un- 
wholesomely, that fair water put into their crowded rooms on Saturday 
ni^t, would be corrupt on Sunday morning ; albeit my lord, their county 
member, was amazed that they failed to sleep in company with their 
butcher's meat. Miles of close weUs and pits of houses, where the 
inhabitants gasped for air, stretched far away towards every point of the 
compass. Through the heart of the town a deadly sewer ebbed and 
£owed, in the place of a fine fresh river. What secular want could the 
million or so of human beings whose daily labor, six days in the week, 
lay among these Arcadian objects, frx)m the sweet sameness of which 
they had no escape between the cradle and the grave — what secular 
want oould they possibly have upon their seventh day ? Clearly they 
could want nothmg but a stringent policeman. 

Mr. Arthur Clennam sat in the window of the coffee house on Ludgate 
Mill, counting one of the neighbouring bells, making sentences and bur- 
dens of songs out of it in spite of himself, and wondering how many sick 
people it mig^t be the death of in the course of a year. As the hour 



22 LITTLE DOERIT. 

approached; its changes of measure made it more and more exasperating. 
At the quarter, it went off into a condition of deadly lively importunity, 
lurging die populace in a voluble manner to Come to church, Come to 
church, Come to church ! At the ten minutes, it became aware that 
the congregation would be scanty, and slowly hammered out in low spirits. 
They won't come, they iconH come, they tconH come I At the five minutes, 
it abandoned hope, and shook ever}- house in the neighbourhood for three 
hundred seconds, with one dismal swing per second, as a groan of despair. 

'' Thank Heaven ! ** said Clennam, when the hour struck, and the bell 
stopped. 

But its sound had revived a long train of miserable Sundays, and the 
procession would not stop with the bell, but continued to march <m, 
** Heaven forgive me," said he, " and those who trained me. How I 
have hated tlus day ! " 

There was the dreary Sunday of his childhood, when he sat with his 
hands before him, scared out of his senses by a horrible tract which com- 
menced business with the poor child by asMng him in its title, why he 
was going to Perdition ? — a piece of curiosity' that he^ really in a mKsk 
and drawers was not in a condition to satisfy — and which, for the further 
attraction of his infant mind, had a parenthesiB in every other line with 
some such hiccupping reference as 2 Ep. Thess. c. iii. v. 6 & 7. There 
was the sleepy Sunday of his boyhood, when, like a military deserter, he 
was marched to chapel by a picquet of teachers three times a day, morally 
handcuffed to another boy ; and when he would willingly have bartered 
two meals of indigestible sermon for another ounce or two of inferior 
mutton at his scanty dinner in the flesh. There was the interminable 
Sunday of Ids nonage ; when his mother, stem of face and unrelenting' 
of heart, would sit all day behind a bible — ^bound like her own construc- 
tion of it in the hardest, barest, and straitest boards, with one dinted 
ornament on the cover like the drag of a chain, and a wrathfiil sprink- 
ling of red upon the edges of the leaves — as if it, of all books ! were a 
fortification against sweetness of temper, natural affection, and gentle 
intercourse. Tliere was the resentful Sunday of a little later, when he 
Bat glowering and glooming through the tardy length of the day, with a 
sullen sense of injury in his heart, and no more real knowledge of the 
beneficent history of the New Testament, than if he had been bred among- 
idolaters. There was a legion of Sundays, all davs of unsc^rviceable 
bitterness and mortification, slowly passing before him. 

** Beg pardon, sir," said a brisk waiter, rubbing the table. " Wish 
see biKiroom ? " 

*' Yes. I have just made up my mind to do it." 

" CIia}imud I " cried tlie waiter. " Gelen box num seven wish sec 
room ! " 

"Stay!" said Clennam, rousing liimself. *'I was not thinking of 
what I said ; I answered mechanically. I am not going to skvp here. 
I am going home." 

** Dwd, sir V dia^nnaid I Gelen box num seven, not go sleep here, 
gome." 

He sat in the same place as the day died, looking at tlie dull houses 
opposite*, and thinking, if the disembodiiKl spirits of former inliabitauts 
wen^ <'ver conscious of them, how they must i)it)* themselves for their old 



LITTLE DO£Rn. 28 

places of imprisonment. Sometimes a &ce would appear behind the 
dingy glass of a window, and would fieide away into the gloom as if it had 
seen enough of life and had vanished out of it. Presently the rain began 
to fidl in slanting lines between him and those houses, and people began to 
collect under cover of the public passage opposite, and to look out hope- 
lessly at the sky as the rain dropped thicker and feister. Then wet um- 
brellas b^an to appear, draggled skirts, and mud. What the mud had 
been doing with itself, or where it came from, who could say ? But it 
seemed to collect in a moment, as a crowd will, and in five minutes to 
have splashed all the sons and daughters of Adam. The lamplighter 
was going his rounds now ; and as tibc fiery jets sprang up under his 
toachy one might have fancied them astonished at being suffered to 
introduce any show of brightness into such a dismal scene. 

Mr. Arthur Clennam took up his hat, and buttoned his coat, and 
walked out. In the country, the rain would have developed a thousand 
fireah scents, and every drop would have had its bright association with 
some beaatifdl form of gi'o^vth or life. In the city, it developed only 
foul stale smells, and was a sickly, lukewarm, duii-stained, wretched 
addition to the gutters. 

He crossed by Saint Paul's and went down, at a long angle, almost to 
the water^s edge, through some of the crooked and descending streets 
which lie (and lay mora crookedly and closely then) between the river 
and Cheapside. Passing, now the mouldy hall of some obsolete Wor- 
shipful Company, now the illuminated windows of a Congregationless 
Church that seemed to be waiting for some adventurous Bclzoni to dig it 
out and discover its histor}'; passing silent warehouses and whan*es, and 
here and there a narrow alley leading to the river, where a wretched 
little bill, Fouin) Deowxed, was weeping on the wet wall; he came at 
last to the house he sought. An old brick house, so dingy as to be all 
but black, standing by itself within a gateway. Before it, a square 
courtyard where a shrub or two and a patch of grass were as rank 
(which is saying much), as the iron railings enclosing them were rusty; 
behind it, a jumble of roofs. It was a double house, with long, narrow, 
beavily-framed windows. Many years ago, it had had it in its mind to 
slide down sideways; it had been propped up, however, and was leaning 
on some half dozen gigantic crutches : which gjTunasium for the neigh- 
bouring cats, weather-stained, smoke-blackened, and overgrown with 
weeds, appeared in these latter days to be no very sure reliance. 

"Nothing changed," said the traveller, stopping to look round. 
** Dark and miserable as ever. A light in my mother's window, which 
seems never to have been extinguished since I came home twice a year 
from school, and dragged mv box over this pavement. Well, well, 
well I" 

He went up to the door, which had a projecting canopy in carved 
work, of festooned jack-towels and children's heads with water on the 
brain, designed after a once popular monumental pattern ; and knocked. 
A shuffling step was soon heard on the stone floor of the hall, and the 
door was opened by an old man : b(?nt and dried, but with keen eyes. 

He had a candle in his hand, and he held it up for a moment to 
assist his keen eyes. ** Ah, Mr. Arthur?" he said, -without any emotion, 
" you are come at last ? Step in." 



^ 



24 LrrnjB dorrtt. 

Mr. Arthur stepped in and ebut the door. 

** Tour figure is filled out, and set," said the old man, turning to look 
at him with the light raised again, and shaking his head ; ** but joa 
don't come up to your father in my opinion. Nor yet your mother." 

" How is my mother ?" 

** She is as she always is now. Keeps her room when not actually 
bedridden, and hasn't been out of it fifteen times in as many years, 
Arthur." They had walked into a spare, meagre, dining room. The 
old man had put the candlestick upon the table, and, supporting his 
right elbow with his left hand, was smoothing his leathern jaws while 
he looked at the visitor. The visitor offered his hand. The old man 
took it Gi^l^ enough, and seemed to prefer his jaws; to which he 
returned, as soon as he could. 

** I doubt if your mother will approve of your coming homo on the 
Sabbath, Arthur," he said, shaking his head warily. 

" You wouldn't have me go away again ?" 

'' Oh ! I ? I ? I am not the master. It's not what / would have. 
I have stood between your father and mother for a number of years. I 
don't pretend to stand between your mother and you." 

" "Will you tell her that I have come home ?" 

" Yes Arthur, yes. Oh to be sure ! I'll tell her that you have come 
home. Please to wait here. You won't find the room changed." He 
took another candle from a cupboard, lighted it, left the first on the 
table, and went upon his errand. He was a short, bald old man, in a 
high shouldered black coat and waistcoat, drab breeches and long drab 
gaiters. He might, from his dress, have been either clerk or servant, 
and in ^t had long been both. There was nothing about him in the 
way of decoration but a watch, which was lowered into the depths of 
its proper pocket by an old black ribbon, and had a tarnished copper 
key moored above it, to show where it was sunk. His head was awry, 
and he had a one-sided, crab-like way ii^dth him, as if his foundationB 
had yielded at about the same time as those of the house, and he ought 
to have been propped up in a similar manner. 

** How weak am I, said Arthur Clennam, when he was gone, 
" that I could shed tears at this reception ! I, who have never expe- 
rienced anything else ; who have never expected anything else." 

He not only could, but did. It was the momentary yielding of a nature 
that had been disappointed from the dawn of its perceptions, but hod not 
quite given up all its hopeful yearnings vet. He subdued it, took up the 
candle and examined the room. The old articles of furniture were in 
their old places; the Plagues of Egypt, much the dinmier for the fiy and 
smoke plagues of London, were framed and glazed upon the walls. There 
was the old cellaret with nothing in it, lined \^4th lead, like a sort of 
coffin in compartments; there was the old dark closet, also with nothing 
in it, of which he had been many a time the sole contents, in days of 
punishment, when he had regarded it as the veritable entrance to that 
bourne to which the tract had found him galloping. There was the large, 
hard-featured clock on the sideboard, which he used to see bending its 
figured brows upon him with a savage joy when he was behind-hand 
with his lessons, and which, when it was wound up once a week with an 
iron handle, used to sound as if it were growling in ferocious anticipation 



LIITLB DOERTT, 25 

of the miseries into which it would bring him. But, here was the old 
man come back, saying, " Arthur, I'll go before and light you." 

Arthur followed him up the staircase, which was panelled off into 
spaces like so many mourning tablets, into a dim bedchamber, the floor 
of which had gradually so sunk and settled, that the fireplace was in 
a delL On a black bier-like eofa, in this hollow, propped up behind 
with one great angular black bolster, like the block at a state execution 
in the good old times, sat his mother in a widow's dress. 

She and his fitther had been at variance from his earliest remembrance. 
To sit speechless himself in the midst of rigid silence, glancing in dread 
finom the one averted face to the other, had been the peaceMlest occu- 
pation of his childhood. She gave him one glassy kiss, and four stiff 
fingers muffled in worsted. This embrace concluded, he sat down on 
the opposite side of her little table. There was a fire in the grate, as 
there had been night and day for fifteen years. There was a kettle on 
the hob, as there had been night and day for fifteen years. There was 
a little mound of damped ashes on the top of the fire, and another little 
mound swept together under the grate, as there had been night and day 
for fifteen years. There was a smell of black dye in the airless room, 
which the fire had been drawing out of the crape and stuff of the widow's 
dress for fifteen months, and out of the bior-Hke sofa for fifteen years. 

** Ifother, this is a change from your old active habits." 
-^ " The. world has narrowed to these dimensions, Arthur," she ix^plied, 
glancing round the room. '^ It is well for me that I never set my heart 
upon it9 hollow vanities." 

The old influence of her presence and her stem strong voice, so 
gathered about her son, that he felt conscious of a renewal of the timid 
chill and reserve of his childhood. 

" Do you never leave your room, mother ?" 

" What with my rheumatic affection, and what with its attendant 
debility or nervous weakness — names are of no matter now — I have 
loet the use of my limbs. I never leave my room. I have not been 
outside this door for — tell him for how long," she said, speaking over 
her shoulder. 

" A dozen year next Christmas," returned a cracked voice out of the 
dimness behind. 

" Is that Affery ?" said Arthur, looking towai-ds it. 

The cracked voice replied that it was Aftery : and an old woman 
came forward into what doubtful light there was, and kissed her hand 
once ; then subsided again into the dimness. 

" I am able," said Mrs. Clennam, with a slight motion of her worsted- 
muffled right hand towards a chair on wheels, standing before a tall 
writing-cabinet close shut up, *' I am able to attend to my business 
duties, and I am thankfrd for the privilege. It is a great pri\-ilege. 
But no more of business on this dav. It is a bad night, is it not ?" 

" Yes, mother." 

"Does it snow?" 

" Snow, mother ? And we only yet in September ?" 

** All seasons are alike to me," she returned, 'with a grim kind of 
luxoriousness. " I know nothing of summer and winter, shut up here. 
The Lord has been pleased to put me beyond all that." With her cold 



26 UTTLB DOBBir. 

grey eyes and her cold grey hair, and her immoveable hcc, as stiff as 
the folds of her stony head-dress, — ^her being beyond the reach of the 
seasons, seemed but a fit sequence to her being beyond the reach of all 
changing emotions. 

On her little table lay two or three books, her handkerchief, a pair 
of steel spectacles newly taken off, and an oldfoshioned gold watch in 
a heavy double case. Upon this last object her son's eyes and her own 
now rested together. 

'' I see that you received the packet I sent you on my father's death, 
safely, mother. 

" You see." 

'' I never knew my father to show so much anxiety on any subject, 
as that his watch should be sent straight to you." 

** I keep it here as a remembrance of your father." 

'' It was not until the last, that he expressed the wish. When he could 
only put his hand upon it, and very indistinctly say to me 'your mother.' 
A moment before, I thought him wandering in his mind, as he had been 
for many hours — I think he had no consciousness of pain in his short 
illness — ^when I saw him turn himself in his bed and try to open it." 

'* Was your fiEither, then, not wandering in his mind when he tried 
to open it?" 

*' No, He was quite sensible at that time." 

Mrs. Qennam shook her head ; whether in dismissal of the deceased 
or opposing herself to her son's opinion, was not clearly expressed. 

" After my father's death I opened it mj-sclf, thinking there might 
be for an}^hing I knew, some memorandum there. However, as I 
need not tell you, mother, there was nothing but the old silk watch- 
impcT worked in beads, which you found (no doubt) in its place 
beti*'CH»n the cases, where I found and left it." 

Mrs. Clcnnam signified assent; then added '' no more of business on 
this day," and then addiMi, " Affery, it is nine o'clock." 

Upon this, the old woman cleared the little table, went out of the room, 
and quicklv returned with a tray, on which was a dish of little rusks 
and a small precise pat of butter, cool, sjTnmctrical, white, and plump. 
The old man who had been standing by the door in one attitude during 
the whole inter>'iew, looking at the mother upstairs as he had looked 
at the son downstairs, went out at the same time, and, alter a longer 
absence, returned with another tray on which was the greater part of a 
bottle of port \i'ine (which, to judge by his panting, he had brought 
from the celhir), a lemon, a sugar basin, imd a spice box. With these 
materials and tlie aid of the kettle, he fillcni a tumbler with a hot and 
odorous mixture, measured out and compounded with as much nicety as 
a j)hysician's prescription. Into this mixture, Mrs. Clennam dipped 
certain of the rusks and ate them; while the old woman buttered 
c(?rtain other of the rusks, which were to Ix' eaten idone. Wlien the 
invalid had eaten all the rusks and dnmk all the mixture, the two trays 
wen.^ removi'd; and the books and the candle, watch, handkerchief, 
and siK'ttacles were replaced upon the table. She then put on the 
spc^ctaeles and read certain passages aloud from a book — sternly, fiercely, 
wrathfully — ^praying that her enemies (she madc» them by her tone and 
manner expressly hers) might be put to the edge of the sword, con- 



LITTLE DOSBIT. 27 

somed by ftre, Bmittcn by plagues and leprosy, that their bones might 
be ground to dust, and that they might be utterly exterminated. As 
she read on, years seemed to fall away from her son like the imaginings 
of a dream^ and all the old dark horrors of his usual preparation for the 
flle^ of an innocent child to overshadow him. 

one shut the book and remained for a little time with her face 
shaded by her hand. So did the old man, otherwise still unchanged in 
attitude ; so, probably, did the old woman in her dimmer part of the 
room. Then the sick woman was ready for bed. 

**Qood night, Arthur. Affery will see to your accommodation. 
Only touch me, for my hand is tender." He touched the worsted 
muffling of her hand — ^that was nothing; if his mother had been 
sheathed in brass there would have been no new baiii^r between them 
— end followed the old man and woman down (ftairs. 

The latter asked him, when they were alone together among the 
heayy shadows of the dining room, would he have some supper ? 
■ "1^0, Affery, no supper." 

" You shall if you like," said Affery. *' There's her to-morrow's part- 
ridge in the larder — ^her first this year ; say the word and I'll cook it." 
No, he had not long dined, and could eat nothing. 
"Har© something to drink, then," said Afferj'; "you shall have 
some of her bottle of port, if you like. I'll tell Jeremiah that you 
ordered me to bring it you." 
No ; nor would he have that, either. 

" It's no reason, Arthur," said the old woman, bending over him to 
▼bisper, '* that because I am afearcd of my life of 'cm, you should be. 
."•^You've got half the property, haven't you ?" 
" Yes, yes." 

"Well then, don't yowbc cowed. You're clever, Arthur, an't you?" 
He nodded, as she seemed to exi)cct an answer in the affirmative. 
" Then stand up against them ! She's awful clever, and none but a 
derer one durst say a word to her. Jle^s a clever one— oh he's a clever 
one! — and he gives it her when he has a mind to't, he docs !" 
" Yotar husband does ?" 

" Does ? It makes me shake from head to foot, to hoar him give it 
her. My husband, Jeremiah Flintwinch, can conquer even your 
Jttother. What can he be but a clever one to do that !" 

ffis shuffling footstep coming towards them caused her to retreat to 
^ other end of the room. Though a tall hard-favoured sinewy old 
▼oman, who in her youth might have enlisted in the Foot Guards 
''^thout much fear of discover}-, she collapsed before the little keen- 
^ crab-like old man. 

"Kow Affery," said he, ** now woman, what are you doing ? Can't 
you find Master Arthur something or imotlier to pick at ?" 
Hastcr Arthur repeated his recent refusal to pick at anything. 
"Very well, then," said the old man; " make his bed. Stir your- 
*^lt" His neck was so trv'isted, that the knotted ends of his white 
<*Bvat uiBually dangled under one ear ; his natural acerbity and energ}', 
•Ivm contending with a second nature of habitual repression, gave 
«* matures a swollen and suffused look ; and altogether, he had a 
wdid appearance of having hanged himself at one time or other, and of 



26 UTTLB DO&BIT. 

having gone about ever sinco halter and all, exactly as some tiniely 
hand had cut him down. 

"You'll have bitter words together to-morrow, Arthur; you and 
your mother/' said Jeremiah. '' Your having given up the businesa 
on your father's death — ^which she suroects, tiiough we have left it to 
you to tell her — won't go off smoothly.* 

'' I have given up ever3rthing in life for the busmess, and the time 
came for me to give up that." 

"Good!" cried Jeremiah, evidently meaning Bad. "Very good! 
only don't expect me to stand between your mother and you, Arthur. 
I stood between your mother and your father, fending off this, and 
fending off that, and getting crushed and pounded betwixt 'em ; and 
I've done with such work." 

" You will never be asked to begin it again for me, Jeremiah." 

" Good, I'm glad to hear it ; because I should have had to decline it» 
if I had been. That's enough — as your mother says — and more than 
enough of such matters on a Sabbath night. Affery, woman, have you 
found what you want yet ?" 

She had been collecting sheets and blankets from a press, and 
« hastened to gather them up, and to reply, " yes, Jeremiah." Aithur 
v.' \ Clennam helped her by carrying the load himself, wished the old man 
good night, and went upstairs with her to the top of the house. 
'■}'^ J They mounted up and up, through the musty smell of an old doflc 

house, little used, to a large garret bed-room. Meagre and^^ere, like 
all the other rooms^ it was even uglier and grimmer than the rest, by 
being the place of banishment for the worn out furniture. Its move- 
ables were ugly old chairs with worn out seats, and ugly old chairs 
^\'ithout any seats ; a threadbare pattemless carpet, a maimed table, a 
crippled wardrobe, a lean set of fire-irons like the skeleton of a set 
deceased, a washing stand that looked as if it had stood for ages in a 
hail of dirty soap-suds, and a bedstead with four bare atomies of posts, 
each terminating in a spike, as if for the dismal accommodation of 
lodgers who might prefer to impale themselves. Arthur opened the 
long low window, and looked out upon the old blasted and blackened 
forest of chimneys, and the old red glare in the sky which had seemed 
to him once upon a time but a nightly reflection of the fiery environ- 
ment that was presented to his childish fancy in all directions, let it 
look where it would. 

He drew in his head again, sat doifvn at the bedside, and looked on 
at Affery Flintwinch making the bed. 

" Affery, you were not married when I went away." 

She screwed her mouth into the form of saying **Xo," shook her 
head, and proceeded to get a pillow into its case. 

" How did it happen ?" 

" AISTiy, Jiremiah, o' course," said Affery, with an end of the pillow- 
case betweon her teeth. 

" Of course he proposed it, but how did it oil come about ? I should 
have thought that neither of you would have married; least of all 
should I have thought of your marrj-ing each other." 

" No more should I," said Mrs. Flintwinch, tj-ing the pillow tightly 
in its case. 



'f 



LITTLE BORRIT. S9 

** That's what I mean. When did you begin to think otherwise ?" 
*' Never begun to think otherwise at all," said Mrs. Flintwinch. 
Seeing, as ehe patted the pillow into its place on the bolster, that he 
was still looking at her, as if* waiting for the rest of her reply, she gave 
it a great poke in the middle, and asked, ** How could I help mysehT?" 
" How could you help yourself fix)m being married ? '* 
** 0* course," said Mrs. Plintwinch. ** It was no doing o' mine. Fd 
never thought of it. I'd got something to do, without thinking, indeed ! 
She kept me to it when she could go about, and she could go about then." 
"WeU?" 

"Well?" echoed Mrs. Ilintwinch. "That's what I said myself. 
Well ! What's the use of considering ? If them two clever ones has 
made up their minds to it, what's left for nie to do? I^othing." 
" Was it my mother's project, then ? " 

** The Lord bless you, Arthur, and forgive me the wish ! " cried Affery, 
speaking always in a low tone. " If tiicy hadn't been both of a mind 
in it, how could it ever have been ? Jeremiah never courted me ; t'ant 
likely that ho would, after living in the house with me and ordering me 
about for as many years as he'd done. Ho said to me one day, he said, 
'Affery,' he said, 'now I am going to tell you something. What do 
yofitlunkofthenameof Plintwinch?' ' What do I think of it ? ' I says. 
* Yes,' he said ; * because you're going to take it,' ho said. * Take it ?' 
I says. * Jere-mi-ah ? * Oh, he's a clever one ! " 

3frs. Flintwinch went on to spread the upper sheet over the bed, and 
the blanket over that, and the counterpane over that, as if she had 
quite concluded her story. 
" Well ? " said Arthur again. 

"Well?" echoed Mrs. Flintwinch again. "How could I help my- 
self? He said to me, * Affery, you and me must be married, and I'll 
tell you why. She's failing in health, and she'll want pretty constant 
attendance up in her room, and we shall have to be much with her, and 
there'll be nobody about now but ourselves when we're away from her, 
and altogether it wiU be more convenient. She's of my opinion,' he 
I said, * 80 if you'll put your bonnet on, next Monday morning at eight, 
^ we'U get it over.' " Mrs. Flintwinch tucked up the bed. 
"WeU?" 

"Well ? " repeated Mrs. Flintwinch, " I think so I I sits me down 
1 ■ and says it. Well ! — Jeremiah then says to mc, * As to banns, next 
Sunday being the third time of asking (for I've put 'em up a fortnight), 
is my reason for naming Monday. She'll speak to you about it herselJP, 
and now she'll find you prepared, Affery.' That same day she spoke 
V; to mc, and she said, * So, Affery, I imderstand that you and Jeremiah 
* MC going to be married. I am glad of it, and so are you, with reason. 
It ig a very good thing for you, and very welcome under the circum- 
stances to me. He is a sensible man, and a trustworthy man, and a 
pt^nevcring man, and a pious man.' What could I say when it had 
^ine to that? Why, if it had been — a Smothering instead of a 
Wedding," Mrs. Flint^vinch cast about in her mind with great pains for 
tiiisfonn of expression, "I couldn't have said a word upon it, against 
^wn two clever ones." 
"In good faith, I believe so." 



80 LTTTLK DORBTT* 

" And 80 you may, Arthur." 

** Affcry, what girl was that in my mother's room just now ? " 

" Grirl ? " said Mrs. Flint winch in a rather sharp key. 

" It was a girl, surely, whom I saw near you— -almost hidden in the 
dark comer?" 

**Oh!_She? Little Dorrit ? i8^>'« nothing ; she'sawhm of^^^Jicrs." 
It was a peculiarity of Affery Flintwinch that she never spoke of Mrs. 
Clennam by name. '' But there's another sort of girls than that abont. 
Have you forgot your old sweetheart? Long and long ago, I'U bo bound.'* 

** I suffered enough from mv mother's separating us, to remember 
her. I recollect her very well. 

" Have you got another ? " 

" No." 

*' Here's news for you, then. She's well to do now, and a widow. 
And if you like to have her, why you can." 

'* And how do you know that, Affery ? " 

"Them two clever ones have been speaking about it. — There's 
Jeremiah on the stairs ! " She was gone in a moment. 

Mrs. Flintwinch had introduced into the web that his mind was busilj 
weaving, in that old workshop where the loom of his youth had stood, tibe 
last thread wanting to the pattern. The airy folly of a boy's love had 
found its way even into that house, and ho had been as wretched under 
its hopelessness as if the houso had been a castle of romance. Little 
more than a week ago, at Marseilles, the face of the pretty girl from 
whom he had parted with regri^t, had had an unusual interest for him, 
and a tender hold upon him, because of some resemblance, real or 
imaginc<l, to this first face that had soared out of his gloomy life into 
the bright glories of fancy. He leaned ui)on the sill of the long low 
window, and looking out upon the blackened forest of chimneys again, 
began to dream. For, it had been the imiform tendency of this man's 
life — so much was wanting in it to think about, so much that might 
have IxH^n better directed and happier to speculate upon — ^to make him 
a dreamer, after all. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MRS. FLINTWINCH HAS A DREAM. 

Whex Mrs. Flintwinch dreamed, she usually dreamed unlike the son 
of her old mistn^**, with her eyes shut. She had a curiously vivid 
(In'am that niglit, and bi'forc she had left the son of her old mistress 
many hours. In fact it was not at all like a dreiun, it was so very real 
in ('verv n'spi*ct. It happ<»ncHl in this wise. 

llie bed -chamber occujned by Mr. and Mrs. Flintwinch was within a 
few paces of that to which Mrs. Clennam had Ix^en so long confined. It 
WHS not on the same fioor, for it was a room at the side of the house, 
which was approached by a steep descent of a few odd steps, diverging: 
from the main stainase nearly opposite to Mrs. Clennam's door. It could 
scarcely be said to Ikj 'vi'ithin call, the walls, doors, and panelling of the 



UTILE DOEBIT. 31 

old place were so cumbroiis ; but it was within easy reach, in any 
imdressy at any hour of the night, in any temperature. At the head of 
the bed, and within a foot of Mrs. Elintwinch's car, was a bell, the line 
of which hung ready to Mrs. Clennam's hand. Whenever this bell rang, 
up started Affery, and was in the sick room before she was awake. 

Having got her mistress into bed, lighted her lamp, and given her 
good night, Mrs Flintwinch went to roost as usual, sa^-ing that her lord 
had not yet appeared. It was her lord himself who became — ^unlike 
the last tiicme in the mind, according to the observation of most philo- 
aophers — ^the subject of Mrs. Elintwinch's dream. 

It seemed to her that she awoke, after sleeping some hours, and 
found Jeremiah not yet abed. That she looked at the candle she had 
left burning, and, measuring the time like king Alfred the Great, was 
confirmed ly its wasted state in her belief that she had been asleep 
for some considerable period. That she arose thereupon, muffed herself 
up in a wrapper, put on her shoes, and went out on the staircase much 
flurpriscd, to look for Jeremiah. 

The staircase was as wooden and solid as need be, and Aifery went 
sirai^t down it without any of those deviations peculiar to dreams. 
She did not skim over it, but walked down it, and guided herself by 
the bannisters on account of her candle having died out. In one 
comer of the hall, behind the house-door, there was a little waiting- 
room, like a well-shafk, with a long narrow window in it as if it had been 
ripped up. In this room, which was never used, a light was burning. 
Mrs. Flintwinch crossed the hall, f(*cling its pavement cold to her 
stockingless feet, and peeped in between the rusty hinges of the door, 
which stood a little open. She expected to see Jeremiah fast asleep or 
in a fit, but he was calmly seated in a chair, awake, and in his usual 
health. But what — ^hey ? — ^Lord forgive us I — Mrs. Flint^vinch mut- 
tered some ejaculation to this effect, and turned giddy. 

For, Mr. Flintwinch awake, was watching Mr. Flintwinch asleep. 
He sat on one side of a small table, looking keenly at himself on the 
other side with his chin sunk on his breast, snoring. Tlie waking 
Flintwinch had his full front face presented to his wife ; the sleeping 
Flintwinch was in profile. The waking Flintwinch was the old 
original ; the sleeping Flintwinch was the double. Just as she might 
have distinguished between a tangible object and its reflection in a glass, 
Affory made out this difference with her head going round and round. 
If ehe had had any doubt which was her own Jeremiah, it would 
have been resolved by his impatience. He looked about liim for an 
offensive weapon, caught up the snuffers, and, before applying them to 
the cabbage-headed candle, lunged at the sleeper as though he would 
Iwve nm him through the body. 
"Clio's that ? AVhat's the matter ? " cried the sleeper, starting. 
^. Flintwinch made a movement wath the snuffers, as if he would 
nave enforced silence on his companion by putting them down his 
"^roat; the companion coming to himself, said, rubbing his eyes, **I 
fo^Kot where I was." 

" You have been asleep," snarled Jeremiah, referring to his watch, 
' two hours. You said you would be rested enough if you had a short 
nap." 



82 LITTLE DOBRTT. 

'' I have hod a short nap/' Raid Double. 

** Half-past two o'clock in the morning/' mattered Jeremiah. 
" Where's your hat ? Where's your coat ? Where's the box ? " 

" All here," said Double, tying up his throat with sleepy careAilnesft 
in a shawl. ** Stop a minute. Now give me the sleeve — not that 
sleeve, the other one. Ha ! I'm not as young as I was." Mr. Flint- 
winch had pulled him into his* coat with vehement energy. ** You 
promised mo a second glass after I was rested." 

" Drink it!" returned Jeremiah, *'and— ehoke yourself, I was going 
to say — ^but go, I mean." At the same time he produced the identicid 
port- wine bottle, and filled a wine-glass. 

** Her port- wine, I believe ? " said Double, tasting it as if he were 
in the Docks, with hours to spare. '' Her health." 

He took a sip. 

" Your health ! " 

He took another sip. 

"His health!" 

He took another sip. 

" And all friends round Saint Paul's." He emptied and put down the 
wine-glass half-way through this ancient ci\dc toast, and took up the 
box. It was an iron box some two feet square, which he carried under 
his arms pretty easily. Jeremiah watched his manner of adjusting it, 
with jealous eyes ; tried it with his hands, to be sure that he had a fim 
hold of it ; bade him for his life be careful what he was about ; and 
then stole out on tiptoe to open the door for him. Affery, anticipating 
the last movement, was on the staircase. The sequence of things was 
so ordinary and natural, that, standing there, she could hear the door 
open, feel the night air, and see the stars outside. 

But now came the most remarkable part of the dream. She fdt so 
afraid of her husband, that being on the staircase, she had not the 
power to retreat to her room (which she might easily have done before 
he had fastened the door), but stood there staring. ConsequcntlT 
when he came up the staircase to bed, candle in hand, he came ftm 
upon her. He looked aBtonishc>d, but said not a word. He kept hia 
eyes upon her, and kept advancing; and she, completely under hia 
iniiuence, kept retiring before him. Thus, she walking backward and 
he walking forward, they came into their o^^^l room. They were no 
sooner shut in there, than Mr. Flintwinch took her by the throat, and 
shook her until she was black in the face. 

**Wliy, Aifer}-, woman — Affer}-!" said Mr. Flintwinch. "What 
have you been dreaming of? Wake up, wake up ! "VNTiat^s the matter? " 

"The — ^the matter, Jen*miali ? " gasped Mrs. Flintwinch, rolling her 
eves. 

" Why, Affery, woman — ^Affer}' ! You have been getting out of bed 
in your sleep, my dear ! I come up, after haWng fallen asleep myself, 
Ik'Iow, and find you in your wrapper here, vrith. the nightmare. 
Affer}', woman," said Mr. Flintwinch, vrith a friendly grin on his 
expri'ssive countenance, "if you ever have a drt^am of this sort again, 
it'll lx» a sign of your being in want of physic. And I'll give you such 
a doHi», old woman — such a dose ! " 

Mrs. Flintwinch thanked him and crept into bed. 



LITTLK DOBSIT. ^^ 



CHAPTER V. 

PAMILT AFFAIRS. 

Afl the city docks struck nine on Monday morning, Mrs. Clcnnam 
was wheeled by Jeremiah Flintwinch of tho cut-down aspect, to her 
tall cabinet. When she had unlocked and opened it, and had settled 
herself at its desk, Jeremiah withdrew — as it might be, to hang himself 
marc effectually — and her son appeared. 

"Are you any better this morning, mother?*' 

She shook her head, with the same austere air of luxuriousness that 
she had shown over-night when speaking of the weather. " I shall 
never be better any more. It is well for me, Arthur, that I know 
it and can bear it." 

Sitting with her hands laid separately upon the desk, and the tall 
cabinet towering before her, she looked as if she were performing on a 
dumb church organ. Her son thought so (it was an old thought with 
him), while he took his seat beside it. 

8he opened a drawer or two, looked over some business papers, and 
put them back again. Her severe face had no thread of relaxation in 
it, by which any explorer could have been guided to the gloomy 
labyrinth of her thoughts. 

** Shall I speak of our aflfiairs, mother ? Are you inclined to enter 
npon business?" 

" Am I inclined, Arthur ? Eather, are you ? Your father has been 
dead a year and more. I have been at your disposal, and waiting 
your pleasure, ever since." 

" There was much to arrange before I could leave ; and when I did 
leave, Itrav clled a little for rest and relief." 

She turned her face towards him, as not having hoard or understood 
his last words. 

** For rest and relief." 

She glanced round the sombre room, and appeared from the motion 
of her Ups to repeat the words to herself, as calling it to witness how 
little of either it afforded her. 

'* Besides, mother, you being sole executrix, and having the direction 
and management of tho estate, there remained little business, or I 
might say none, that I could transact, until you had had time to 
arrange matters to your satisfaction." 

** llie accounts are made out," she returned, " I have them here. 
Tho vouchers have all been examined and passed. You can inspect 
them when you like, Arthur ; now, if you please." 

*' It is quite enough, mother, to know that the business is completed. 
Shall I proceed then ?" 

" Why not !" she said, in her frozen way. 

*' Mother, our House has done less and less for some years past, and 
our dealings have been progressively on the decline. We have never 



34 unui ix>BX]T. 

ikbown much confidence, or myited much ; wc have attaebod no people 
to iu ; the track wc hare kept u not the track of the time ; and we 
hare been left far behind. I need not dwell on this to you, mother. 
Vou know it neceasarily." 
'' I know what jou mean/' she answered, in a qualified tone. 
'* Even thiff old house in which we speak/' pnrsucd her son, " is an 
instance of what I say. In my fiither's earlier time, and in his uncle^s 
time bdbn; him, it was a place of business — ^really a place of business, 
and businefs resort. ISow, it is a mere anomaly and incongruity here, 
out of date and out of purpose. All our consignments have Inig been 
made to Bovinghams' the commission-merchants; and although, as a 
chock upon than, and in the stewardship of my father's resouzcoB, 
your judgment and watchfidness have been actively exerted, still 
those qualities would have influenced my fisither^s fortunes equally, if 
yott Ind lived in any private dwelling : would they not ?" 

** I>o you consider, she returned, without answering his question, 
** that a house serves no purpose, Arthur, in sheltering your infirm and 
afflicted — justly infirm and righteously afllicted — ^mother?" 
'' I was speaking only of business purposes." 
"With what object?" 
" I am coming to it." 

" J foresee," she returned, fixing her eyes upon him, " what it is, 
But the Laid forbid that I should repino under any visitation. In my 
sinfUlnc^ss I merit bitti*r disappointment, and I accept it." 
I. ''Mothcnr, I grieve to hear you speak like this, though I have had 
my ttjiprehensioiiM that yoii would — ' 

" You knew I would. You knew w^," she interrupted. 
Her Hon paused for u moment. He hod struck fire out of her, and 
wus HuniriMtd. "Weill" she said, relapsing into stone. "Go on. 
i<,<'t me licar." 

** You have anticipated, mother, tlmt I decide, for my part, to abandon 
the buHinc*ss. I have done with it. I will not take upon myself to 
lulviso you ; you ii^dll continue it, I see. If I hud any influence with 
you, I would simply use it to soften your judgment of me in causing 
you this disappointment: to represent to you tiiat I have lived the half 
of u long term of life, and have never before set my own will against 
yours. I cannot say tluit I have been able to conform myself, in heait 
and spirit, to your rules ; I cannot say that I believe my fort}' years 
have been profitable or pleasant to myself, or any on(>; but I have 
habitually submitted, ami I only ask you to remember it." 

Woo to the suppliant, if such a one there were or ever had been, who 
had any concession to look for in the inexorable face at the cabinet. 
Woo to thu defaulter wlio.se appeal lay to the tribimol where thosi^ 
severe eyes presided.ri Great need had the rigid womi^ of her mj-stical 
religion, veile<l in gl(K)ni and darkness, 'witli lightnings of cursing, 
vengeance?, and destruction, flashing t)m)u^]i the sable clouds. Forgive 
us our debts as wo forgive our debtors, wits a pwyer too poor in spiiii 
for her. Smite thou my debtors. Lord, wither them, crusii tbem; do 
Thou as I would do, and Thou shalt have my worsliip : this was thu 
impious tower of stone she built up to scale Heaven. 
" Have you finished, Arthur, or have you anything more to say to 



LITTLE DOttRIT. 85 

me ? I think there can be nothing else. You have been short, but 
full of matter ! " 

" Mother, I liave yet something more to say. It has been upon my 
mind, night and day, this long time. It is far more difficult to say 
than what I have said. That concerned myself; this concerns us all." 

"Usall! Whoaw?>usaIl?" 

" Yourself, myself, my dead father." 

She took her hands from the desk ; folded them in her lap ; and sat 
looking tJwards the fire, with the impenetrability of an old Egyptian 
sculpture. 

"You knew my father infinitely better than I ever knew him; and 
his reseore with me yielded to you. You were much the stronger, 
mother, and directed him. As a child, I knew it as well as I know it 
now. I knew that your ascendancy over him was the cause of his going 
to China to take care of the business there, while you took care of it 
here (though I do not even now know whether these were really terms 
of separation that you agreed upon) ; and that it was your will that I 
should rciuain with you until I vras twenty, and then go to him as I 
did. You will not be offended by my recalling this, after twentj* years ? " 

" I am waiting to hear why you recall it." 

He lowered his voice, and said, with manifest reluctance, and against 
his will: 

" I want to ask you, mother, whether it ever occurred to you to 
suspect — " 

At the word Suspect, she turned her eyes momentarily upon her son, 
with a dark frown. She then suffered them to seek the fire as before ; 
but with the frown fixed above them, as if the sculptor of old Egypt 
had indented it in the hard granite face, to frown for ages. 

" — ^that he had any secret remembrance which caused him trouble of 
inind — ^remorse ? Whether you ever observed an}i;hing in his conduct 
suggesting that ; or ever spoke to him upon it, or over heard him hint 
at such a thing ? " 

" I do not understand what kind of secret remembrance you mean 
to infer that your father was a prey to," she returned, after a silence. 
" You speak so mystefiously." 

**Is it po:>siul(', molhery" hor son liancd forward to bo the nearer to 
her while he whispcied it, and laid his liand nervously upon her desk, 
''is it possible, mother, that he had unhappily wronged any one, and 
ma^lo no repmtion ? " 

Looking at him wtmthfuUy, she bent herself back in her chair to 
keep him flvfter €f&, but gave him no reply. 

'* I am Jbep ly wnsible, mother, that if this thought has never at any 
time fladnA VfOC you, it must seem cruel and unnatural in me, even in 
this ooafdnMey toi breathe it. But I cannot shake it off. Time and 
chan^ (I h^re tried both before breaking silence), do nothing to wear it 
out. Bnadbber, I was with my father. Remember, I saw his face 
when be ggre the watcli into my keeping, and struggled to express that h(i 
sent ft fli a taken you would understand, to you. Remember, I saw him at 
the iMt irifb the pencil in his failing hand, trying to ^vTite some word for 
you to^nad, but to which he could give no shape. The more remote and 
tBgue suspicion that I have, the stronger the circumstances 

D 2 



I 

I 



89 UlTLK BOXUT. 

that could giveitanysembltmce of probability tonic. Tot lit'uvt-ii's eaki* 
let UB i-xaminc SBcrcaly whetbcr tbcTO is ftny wrong tiitrusled to ua t» 
set right. So one can help towanle it, mother, but you." 

Still BO recoiling in her chair that hir ovorpoised weight moved it, 
from time to lime, a little on its wheels, and gave her the appearance of « 
phantom of fierce aspect gliding away from hiiu, she intjiTposed her left 
ann, bent at the elbow with the back of her hand Uiwarda her feee, 
between her«eU' and him, and looked at him in n flicd sileneo. 

"In groeping at money und in driving hard barguins — IhaTebegOD, 
and I must Bpcuk of audi thingn now, mother — nome one may have been 
grievously deceived, injured, ruined. Tou were the moving power of all 
this machinery before my birlh; your etronger spirit hoa been infused 
into all my father's dealings, for more than two seorc yeara. You can atA 
these doubt" lit rest, I think, if you will really help me to diwover the 
truth. Will you, mother ? " 

He sto{)ped in the hojMi that she would speak. But her grey hair was 
not more immoveable in its two folds, than were her firm lips. 

" If reparation can be made to any one, if restitution can bo made to 
any one, let us know it aiul moko it. Nay, mother, if within my means, 
let nw make it. I have seen so little happiness eome of money ; it has 
brought within my knowledge eo little peace U> this house, or to any one 
k-loiiging to it ; that it ie worth less to mo tban (o another, ll can 
buy mc nothing that will not bo a reproach and misery to me, if I am 
haunted by a euepicion that it darkened my father's lust hours with 
remorse, and that it is not honestly and justly mine." 

There was a bell-ropc hanging on the panelled wall, somi: two or 
three yards from the cabincl. By a swift and sud^n action of her foot, 
she drove her wheeled chair rapidly back to it and pulled it \-iolentJy — 
ntill holding her ann up in it« shield-like pustule, an if he wero strilong 
at her, and she warding off the blow. 

A girl came hurrying in, frightened. 

" t^d Flintwinch here ! " 

In a moment the girl had witlidrawn. wid t^ (Ail man stiH>d within 
the door. "Wbatl You're hammer and tongs alrMdy, you two F" Ue 
tuiid, coolly stroking his face. " I thought vcni mmld 1>C' 1 was prettj' 
siiro of it. ' 

" Flintwinch ! " said the mother, " look at K' 

" "Well 1 I am looking at him," snid Flintin 

Rhc Btrotehed out tlio arm with wbieli sin- hsd ihirhM hMxJf, and 
ns she went on, pointed at the object of her v 

" In llie very hour of his return almost — !>■ ' '!'■" foot 

i* dry — ht? nspcraea his father's memory to hi- : ii^tlier 

to become, with him, a spy upon his father' h '< 
time! Has mi«givings that Uic goods of this «iiriii. wiu.-u »c have 
painfully got logetlier early and lute, wilh weiu- and tear Vid toil oud 
wlf^lcnia], are so much i)liinder ; and asks to whom ihejr aliftll h» given 
up, oa reparation and restitution ! " 

Although she said this raging, she Mud it in a voice no tvBWB bu^S 
beyond ber routrol, that it was even lower than her usuuHwn^ fih« 
•Im i^ke with great distinctness. 

' Mid ■h e. " Yes truly ! It is easy for him b IbBc «f 



Look at him 



LITTLE DORRIT. 37 

■ 

reparation, firosh from journeying and junketting in foreign lands, and 
Jiving a life of vanity and ploasnro. But let him look at me, in prison, and 
in bonds here. I endure "without murmuring, because it is appointed 
that I shall so make reparation for my sins. Reparation ! Is there nono 
in this room? Has there been none here this fOtlteen years ? " 

Thus was she always balancing her bargain with the Majesty of 
heaven, posting up the entries to her credit, strictly keeping her set-ofl^^ 
4ind claiming her due. She was only remarkable in this, for the forcu' 
and emphasis with which she did it. Thousands upon thousands do it^ 
according to their varjring manner, ever}* day. 

"Rintwinch, give me that book ! " 

The old man handed it to her from the table. She put two fingers 
between the leaves, closed the book upon them, and held it up to her 
son in a threatening way. 

** In fhe days of old, Arthur, treated of in this Commentary, there 
were pioos men, beloved of the Jjord, who would have cursed their sons 
for leas than this: who would have sent them forth, and sent whole 
nationa fbrtih, if such had sup|>orted them, to be avoided of Grod and 
man, and perish, down to the baby at the breast. But I only tcU you 
that if you ever renew that theme with me, I will renounce you ; I will 
so dianuBS you through that doorway, that you had better have been 
motherleaa firom your cradle. I will never see or know you more. And 
if, after all, you were to come into this darkened room to look upon 
mc l3ring dead, my body should bleed, if I could make it, when you 
came near me." 

In pert relieved by the intensity of this threat, and in part (monstix)us 
as the fiict is) by a general impression that it was in some sort a re- 
ligions proceeding, she handed back the book to the old man, and was 
silent. 

"Now," said Jeremiah; "premising that I'm not going to stand 
between you two, will you let me ask (as I have been called in, and made 
a third) what is aU this about ? " 

"Ti^e your version of it," returned Arthur, finding it left to him 
to speak, " from my mother. Let it rest there. What I have said, 
was said to my mother only." 

•*0h!" returned the old man. "From your mother? Take it 
from your mother ? Well ! But your mother mentioned that you had 
been suspecting your father. That's not dutiful, Mr. Arthur. Who 
will you be suspecting m^xt ? " 

"Enough," said Mrs. Clennam, turning her face so that it was 
addressed for the moment to the old man only. " Let no more be said 
about this." 

*• Yes, but stop a J)it, stop a bit," the old man persisted. " Let us 
see how we stand. Have vou told Mr. Arthur, that he mustnH lav 
offences at kis father's door ? That he has no right to do it ? That he 
faaH no ground to go upon ? " 

"I tell him to now." 

*' Ah ! Exactly," said the old man. " You tell him so now. You 
hadn't told him so before, and you tell him so now. Ay, ay ! That's 
right ! You know I stood ])etween you and his father so long, that 
it seems as if death had made no difference, and I was still standing 



88 LITTLE DOBBH. 

between you. So I will, and so in fairness I require to liavo that 
plainly put forward. Arthur, you please to hear that you have na 
right to mistrust your father, and have no ground to go upon." 

He put his hands to the baek of the wheeled ehair, and muttermg 
to himself, slowly wheeled his mistress back to her cabinet. ** Now," 
he resumed, standing behind her : ''in case I should go away loaving 
things half done, and so should be wanted again when you como to the 
other half and get into one of your flights, has Arthur told you what 
he means to do about the business ?" 

*' He has relinquished it." 

*' In favour of nobody, I suppose ? " 

Airs. Clennam glanced at her son, leaning against one of the windows. 
He observed the look, and said, " To my mother, of course. She does 
what she pleases." 

" .Vnd Sfany pleasure," she said after a short pause, " could arise 
for me out of the disappointment of my expectations, that my son in the 
prime of his life would infuse new youth and strength into it, and 
make it of great profit and power, it woidd be in advancing an old and 
faiths sen'ant. Jeremiah, the captain deserts the ship, but you and 
I will sink or float with it." 

Jeremiah, whose eyes glistened as if they saw money, darted a sodden 
look at the son, which seemed to say, '' I owe you no thanks for this ; 
ffou have done nothing towards it ! " and then told the mother that he 
thanked her, and thiEit Aflery thanked her, and that he would never 
desert her, and that Affory would never desert her. Finally, he hauled 
up Ids watch from its depths, said " Eleven. Time for your oysters ! " 
and with 'fliat change of subject, which involved no change of expres* 
nion or manner, rang the bell. 

But Mrs. Clennam, resolved to treat herself with the greater rigor 
for ha^-ing been supposed to be tmac(iuainted with reparation, reftised 
to eat her oysters when they were brought. They looked tempting ; 
eiglit in number, circularly set out on a white plate on a tray coreied 
with a white napkin, flanked by a slice of buttered French roll, and a 
little compact glass of cool wine and water ; but she resisted all persua- 
sions, and scmt them down again — ^placing the act to her credit, no 
doubt, in her Eternal Day-book. 

This refection of oystcTs was not presided over by Affery, but by the 
prirl who had appeared when the bell was rung ; the same who had been 
in the dimly-lighted room hist night. Now tliathe had an opportunitT 
*'" of obser\'ing her, Arthur found that her diminutive figure, Hmall 
fiaturcs, and slight sj)are dress, gave her the aj)i>earance of being much 
younger than she; was. A woman, probably of not less than two and 
twenty, she might hav(? ^^eon passed in the street for little more than 
liulf that age. Not tliut her lace was ver}' youthful, for in tnith there 
was more consideration and care? in it tlian natiu-ally belonged to her 
utmost years ; but she was so little and light, so noiseless and aliy, and 
a])pfar(d so conscious of being out of j)lace ainoniir (ho three hard elders, 
that shchad all the mannerand much of the appearance of a subdut<i cMld. 

In a hard way, and in lui uncertain way that fluctuated bettocn 
patronage and putting down, th(» sprinkling from a watering-i)ot and 
hydniulic; pressiu^, Mrs. Clennam showed an interest in this dependant. 



^ 



a/* 



UTILE DO&RIT. 39 

Even in the momGnt of her entrance upon the violent ringing of the 
bell, when the mother shielded herself with that singular action from 
the son, Mrs. Clennam's eyes had had some individual recognition in them, 
which seemed reserved for her. As there are degrees of hardness in the 
hardest metal, and shades of color in black itself, so, even in the 
aspeiitj of Mrs. Clennam's demeanour towards all the rest of humanity 
and towards Little Doirit, there was a fine gradation. 

Little Borrit let herself out to do needlework. At so much a day — 
or at so little — ^from eight to eight, Little Dorrit was to be hired. 
Punctual to the moment, Little Dorrit appeared; punctual to the 
moment, Little Dorrit vanished. What became of Little Dorrit between 
^CLtwo eights, was a mystery. 

Another of the moral pheno mena of Little Dorrit. Besides her consi- 
deration money, hSr3aiIy*co]ffiucrihcluded meals. She had an extra- 
ordinary repugnance to dining in company ; woidd never, do so, if it 
were possible to escape. AYould always plead that she had this bit of 
work to begin first, or that bit of work to finish first ; and would, of a 
; certainty, scheme and plan — ^not very cunningly it would seem, for she 
uleceived no one — ^to dine alone. Successful in this ; happy in carrying 
off her plate anywhere, to make a table of her lap, or a box, or the ground, 
or even as was supposed, to stand on tip-toe, dining moderately at a 
rantelshelf ; the great anxiety of Little Dorrit's day was set at rest. 
It was not easy to make out Little Dorrit' s face ; she vras so retiring, 
plied her needle in such removed comers, and started away so scared if 
encountered on the stairs. Eut it seemed to be a pale transparent face, 
I quick in expression, though not beautiful in feature, its soft hazel eyes 
I excepted. A delicately bent head, a tiny form, a quick little pair of busy 
hands, and a shabby dress — it must needs have been very shabby to 
look at all so, being so neat — ^were Little Dorrit as she sat at work. 

For these particulars or generalities concerning Little Dorrit, Mr. 
Arthur was indebted in the course of the day to his own eyes and to 
Mrs. Affery's tongue. If Mrs. ^Vffery had had any will or way of her 
own, it would probably have been unfavourable to Little Dorrit. But 
as " them two clever ones " — Mrs. Afiery's perpetual reference, in whom 
her personality was swallowed up — were agreed to accept Little Dorrit 
as a matter of course, she had nothing for it but to follow suit. Similarly, 
if the two clever ones had agreed to murder Little Dorrit by candle-light, 
Mrs. Affery, being required to hold the candle, would no doubt have 
done it. 

In the intervals of roasting the partridge for the invalid chamber, and 
preparing a baking-dish of beef and pudding for the dining-room, Mrs. 
Affery made the communications above set forth ; invariably putting 
her head in at the door again after she had taken it out, to enforce re- 
nstance to the two clever ones. It apjxiared to have become a perfect pas- 
sion with Mrs. Flintwinch, that the only son should be pitted against them. 
In the course of the day too, Arthur looked through the whole house. 
DnU and dark he found it. The gaunt rooms, deserted for years upon 
yean, seemed to have settled down into a gloomy lethargy from which 
nothing could rouse them again. The furniture, at once spare and lum- 
bering, hid in the rooms rather than furnished them, and there was no 
color in all the house; such color as had ever been there, had long ago 



■tartod awny on loitt suiibeama^got itiwlf absorbed, pcrLapa, into fluwen. 
bnttrrtlicB, plnmngr of birds, iirecious stones, whnt not. Tbcrc wiw 
not (me struiKlit Aoar, Jrom tlie Ibimdutioii to the roof ; the euilin^ wn- 
so fontaaticaUy eloiuled by Hmuke anil dust, that old wonum nuKlil 
have told fortunes in tbcm, better than in grouta uf tt-a ; the doad-coid 
hearths showed no truces of having ever hui'ii nanncd, but in heaps of 
"oot that had tumbled dovo the chimneys, and eddied about in littlr 
(lunky whirlwinds when the doors wpro opened, in whnt luul onM- 
liccn n rimwing-room, there were a pnir of meagre mirmrs, with diimal 
pm^vsions of hluek figures ciuryiug black garlands, walking iiiund the 
iVamea; but evun these were short of heads and legs, und out' imdiT- 
tuktr-liki' Cujjid hud swung round on his own ajas und got upsidi' 
down, andanotbcrhad fallen off altogether. The room Ailhur Clcnnank'* 
deceased father had occupied for business purposes, ^\hen be first rr- 
memberod hiro, was so unaltered that be might have been imagined still 
tu ki-ep it invisibly, us his visible relict kept her room up-staira; Junr- 
iiiiuli Flintwiiich still going Ix'tweeii them negociating. His uictutv. 
dark and gloomy, enniislly spt-wrlJusa on the wall, with the eyes mtunttj 
lookin^f at his son as they had looked when life departed from then, 
>H<cnicd to tirife him awAUly to the task he had attempt(>d; but as to my 
yiulding on the part of Itia mother, he had now no hope, mid as tn any 
othor means of ^cttiug his distrost at rest, he hod abondonefl hope a lonp 
time. Down in thu cellars, as up in the hi^l-ehanibers, old objects that 
he veil remembered were changed by age and dtvuy. but were still at 
their old places; even to empty beer-easks hoary with cobwebs, ad 
tnnpty wine-bottles with fiir and fungus ehokiug up their throol*. 
Thrn', too, among unused bottle-raeks and pale slants of light from tiM- 
yard above, was the strong room stored with old Icdgvrs which had ii» 
miuty and curruiit a smell as if tltey were regularl)' balanced, 
dead small hunrv. by a nightly resuixection of old booW-k<fper«. 

The baking-dish was served' ii]i in a penitential manner, 
cloth at an rod of the dining table, at two o'clock; when he dined vnth 
Mr. Flintwinch. tite new partner, ilr. Flintwinch informed lum that 
liis mother had reeovered licrequaiiiniily now, and that be neod not frtq- 
her ngaiu idluding to what luul pnswd in the morning, "And don't jroii 
lay oflenees at your fiitlier's door, Mr. Arthur," addul Jentniuh, " oacv 
for all, don't do it I Now, we Uavi' done with the subjeet," 

Mr. Flintwinch had lieen already ti'-arnraging and dusting his own 
particular little office, as if to do honor to his accession tu new digni^. 
He n^nmed this occupation when he was replete witll bei'f, had sorked 
up all tlu- gravy in the baking-dish with thi- tint of his knife, nnd had 
druwn lilna-ally on a luirrel »f uiiiill lietT in the scullery. TIius rrlVcnfacd, 
he tuckod up lun alurt-idei'veB and went to Work again ; ond Mr. Arthur, 
watching him as he set about it, phunl} saw that his father's pictBse. 
or his Auhcr'a giaTi), would hv as communicative with him as tins old 

" Now, Affery, woman." said Mr. Flintwinch, as she erowed tip 
hall. " Yim hniln'l made Mr. Arthur's bed when 1 was up ifaov laat. 
Stir youDH-it'. Bustle." 

But Mr. Artliur found tht- bouM' to blank and dniur, and vaa lu 
onwilling to at wat ti wottwr JBubwth oowtiBBwal at hb 



UITLB DOBRIT. 41 

^ enemies (perhaps himself among them) to mortal disfigurement and 
immortal rainy that he announced his intention of lodging at the coifeo- 

liouse where he had left his luggage. Mr. Flintwinch taking kindly to 

tlie idea of getting rid of him, and his mother heing indifferent, beyond 
cxmsiderations of saving, to most domestic arrangements that were not 
bounded by the walls of her o'nth chamber, ho easily carried this point 
without new offence. Daily business hours were agreed upon, which 
his mother, Mr. Flintwinch, and he, were to devote together to u 
necessary checking of books and papers ; and he left the home he had 
80 lately found, with a depressed heart. 
But little Dorrit ? 

The business hours, allowing for intervals of invalid regimen of oysters 
and partridges, during which Clennam refreshed himself with a walk, 
were from ten to six for about a fortnight. Sometimes Little Dorrit 
was employed at her needle, sometimes not, sometimes appeared as a 
liTnnble visitor: which must have been her character on the occasion of 
liifl arrival. His original curiosit}^ augmented every day, as he watched 
for her, saw or did not see her, and speculated about her. Influenced 
by his predominant idea, he even fell into a habit of discussing witli 
bimidf the possibility of her being in some way associated with it. At 
last he resolved to watch Little Dorrit and know more of her story. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE FATHER OF TU£ MARSHALSEA. 

Thibtt years ago there stood, a few doors short of the church of Saint 
George, in the Borough of Southwark, on the left hand side of the way 
going southward, the Marshalsea Prison. It had stood there many years 
wfore, and it remained "there some years afterwards ; but it is gone 
^ / ^OV) and the world is none the worse without it. 
'( It was an oblong pUe of barrack building, partitioned into squulid 
"0U8C9 standing back to back, so that there wen; no back rooms; 
^J^Jironcd by a narrow paved yard, hemmed in by high walls duly 
*P|*ed at top. Itself a close and confliied prison for debtors, it contained 
within it a much closer and more confined jail for smugglers. Offenders 
?8*uiat the revenue laws, and defaulters to excise or customs, who had 
P^^^'^'ied fines which they were unable to pay, were supposed to be 
^'^^•^'ecrated behind an iron-plated door, closing up a second prison, 
^'^'i^tingof a strong cell or two, and a blind alley some yard and a half 
^^^} which formed the mysterious termination of the very limited skittle - 
pound in which the Manhalsea debtors bowled down their troubles. 

S^posed to be incarcerated there, because the time had rather out- 
grown the strong colls and the blind alley. In practice they had come 
to be considered a little too bad, though in theory they were quite as 
g^ •■ ever ; which may bo observed to be the case at the present day 
▼itli other cells that are not at all strong, and with other blind alleys 
that are stone-blind. Hence the smugglers habitually consorted with 



42 LITTLE BOB&IT. 

the debtoTB (who received them witli open ormB), except at certain 
constitutioiial moments when somebody came from some Office, to go 
through some form of overlooking something, which neither he nor 
anybody else knew anything about. On those truly British occasums, 
the smugglers, if any, made a feint of walking into the strong cells and 
the blind alley, while this somebody pretended to do his something; and 
made a reality of walking out sgiin as soon as ho hadn't done it— -neatly 
(epitomising ike administration of most of the public affairs in our li^t 
little, tight little, island. 

There had been taken to the Marshalsea Prison, long before the day 
when the sun shone on Marseilles and on the opening of this naziative, 
a debtor with whom this narrative has some concern. 

He was, at that time, a very amiable and very helpless middle-aged' 
gentleman, who was going out again directly. Necessarily, he was 
going out again directly, because the !]£arshalsea lock never turned upon 
a debtor who was not. He brought in a portmanteau with him, which 
he doubted its being worth wlule to unpack ; he was so perfecthr dear 
— like all the rest of them, the turnkey on the lock said — ^that ne was 
going out again directly. 

He was a shy, retinng man ; well-looking, though in an efieminatfi 
style ; with a mild voice, curling hair, and irresolute hands — lixigB wn 
the fingers in those days — which nervously wandered to his trembung 
lip a hundred times, in the first half-liour of his acquaintance with the 
jail. His principal anxiety was about his wife. 

** Do you think, sir," ho asked the turnkey, " that she will bo very 
much shocked, if she should come to the gate to-morrow morning? " 

The turnkey gave it as the result of his experience that some of 'em 
was and some of 'em wasn't. In general, more no than yes. ' * What like 
is she, you see ?" he philosophically asked: "that's what it hinges on." 

" She is very delicate and inexperienced indeed." 

" That," said the turnkey, " is agen her." 

** She is so little used to go out alone," said the debtor, '* that I am 
at a loss to think how she will ever make her way here, if she walks." 

" P'raps," quoth the turnkey, *' she'll take a acknoy coach." 

'* Perhaps." The irresolute fingers went to the trembling lip. " I 
hope she will. She may not think of it." 

" Or p'raps," said the turnkey, offering his suggestions from the top 
of his well- worn wooden stool, as he might have offered them to a child 
for whose weakness he felt a compassion, '^ p'raps she'll get her brother, 
or her sister, to come along with her." 

" She has no brother or sister." 

"Niece, nevy, cousin, sorwant, young 'ooman, greengrocer. — Dail 
it ! One or another on 'em," said the turnkey, repudiating beforeham 
the refusal of all his suggestions. 

" I fear — I hope it is not against the rules — that she will bring th. 
children." 

" The children ? " said the turnkey. " And the rules ? Why, lord sr 
you up like a comer pin, w(;'ve a reg'lar ])Iayground o' children hen 
Children ? Why, we swarm 'with 'em. How many a you got ? ** 

** Two," said the debtor, lifting his irresolute hand to his lip agaix 
and turning into the prison. 



UTILB SOBfiTT. 43 

The turnkey followed him with his eyes. *' And you another/' ho 
observed to himself, ''which makes three on you. And your wife 
another, I'll lay a crown. Which makes four on you. Azul another 
coming, I'll lay half-a-crown. Which'll make five on you. And I'll 
go another seven and sixpence to name which is the helplessest, the 
nnbom baby or you ! " 

He wasrightin all his particulars. Shecame ncxtday withalittleboy of 
ihree years old, and a little girl of two, and he stood entirely corroborated. 
'' Giot a room now ; haven't you ? " the turnkey asked the debtor 
after a week or two. 
" Tes^ I have got a very good room." 

''Any little sticks a coming, to furnish it ? " said the turnkey. 
" I expect a few necessary articles of famiture to be deKvexed by the 
earner, this afternoon." 

" IGasiB and little 'ims a coming, to keep you company ? " a^ed the 
tunkey. 

"Why, yes, we think it better that wo should not be scattered, even 
tat a few weeks." 

" Even for a few weeks, of course," replied the turnkey. And ho 
followed him again with his eyes, and nodded his head seven times when 
be was gone. 

. Tbe affairs of this debtor were perplexed by a partnership, of which 
kfilmew no more than that he had invested money in it ; by legal matters 
of asdgunent and settlement, conveyance here and conveyance there, 
nupidon of unlawful preference of creditors in this direction, and of 
myBteriouB spiriting away of property in that ; and as nobody on the face 
of the earth could be more incapable of explaining any single item in 
tbe heap of confusion than the debtor himself, nothing comprehensible 
could be made of his case. To question him in detail, and endeavoui* 
to reconcile his answers ; to closet him with accountants and sharp 
practitioners, learned in the wiles of insolvency and bankruptcy ; was 
wJy to put tho case out at compound interest of incomprehensibility. 
^ irresolute fingers fluttered more and more ineffectually about the 
trembling lip on every such occasion, and the sharpest practitioners 
g&ve him up as a hopeless job. 

"Out?" said the turnkey, " he'll never get out. Unless his creditors 
«ie him by the shoulders and shove him out." 

He had been there five or six months, when he came running to this 

"^eyone forenoon to tell him, breathless and pale, that his wife was ill. 

'-Vs anybody might a known she would be," said the turnkey. 

" Vc intended," he returned, " tliat she should go to a country lodging 

•^y to-morrow. What am I to do ! Oh, good heaven, what am I to do ! " 

* Don't waste your time in clasping your hands and biting your 

™piB," responded the practical tumkc?}', taking him by the elbow, 

'hut come along with me." 

The turnkey conduct<^d him — trembling from head to foot, and con- 
^twitly crying under his breath, What was he to do ! while his irrc- 
''^^ fingers bedabbled the isax^ upon his face — up one of the common 
J'J'CMes in the prison, to a door on the garret story. Upon which door 
u^tamkey knocked with the handle of his key. 
''Come m ! " cried a voice inside. 



44 LITTUi DOUtn. 

Tho turnkey opening the door, diflclosed in a wretched, iU-smellin 
little room, two hoarse, puffy, rcd-faccd personages seated at a rickett 
table, plajring at all-fours, smoking pipes, and drinking brandy. 

'' Doctor," said the tunikey, '' here's a gentleman's wife in want ( 
you without a minute's loss of time ! " 

The doctor's friend was in the positive degree of hoarseness, pufflne« 
rcd-facedncss, all-fours, tobacco, dirt, and brandy; the doctor in th 
comparative — hoarser, puffier, more red-faced, more all-foury, tobaccoa 
dirtier, and brandicr. The doctor was amazingly shabby, in a torn an 
darned rough-wcathcr sca-jackct, out at elbows and eminently short < 
buttons (he had been in his time the experienced surgeon carried by 
passenger ship), the dirtiest white trowsers conceivable by mortal max 
carpet slippers, and no visible linen. '' Childbed ? '* said the doctoi 
** I'm the boy ! " With that the doctor took a comb from the chimne]i 
piece and stuck his hair upright — ^which appeared to be his way c 
washing himself — ^produced a professional chest or case, of most abjec 
appearance, tram the cupboard where his cup and saucer and coals wen 
settled his chin in the frowsy wrapper round his neck, and became 
ghastly medical scarecrow. 

The doctor and the debtor ran down-stairs, leaving the turnkey t 
return to the lock, and made for the debtor's room. All the ladies i 
the prison had got hold of the news, and were in the yard. Some o 
them had already taken possession of the two children, and were hospi 
tably carrying them off; others were offering loans of little oomibH 
from their own scanty store; others were sympathising with th 
greatest volubility. The gentlemen prisoners, feeling themselves at 
disadvantage, had for the most port retired, not to say sneaked, to thei 
rooms ; from the open windows of which, some of them now compli 
mented the doctor with whistles as he passed below, while others, wit) 
several stories between them, interchanged sarcastic references to th 
prevalent excitement. 

It was a hot summer day, and the prison rooms were baking between 
the high walls. In the debtor's confined chamber, Mrs. Banghan 
charwoman and messenger, who was not a prisoner (though she bai 
been once), but was the popular medium of communication with th 
outer world, had volunteered her sendees as fly-catcher and genen 
attendant. The walls and ceiling were blackened with flies. Mn 
Bangham, expert in sudden device, with one hand fanned the paticn 
with a cabbage leaf, and with the other set traps of vinegar and saga 
in gallipots ; at the same time enunciating sentiments of an encooraginj 
and congratulatory nature, adapted to the occasion. 

** The flies trouble you don't they, my dear?" said Mrs. Banghan 
" But p'raps they'll take your mind off of it, and do you good. Wha 
between the buiyin ground, the grocer's, the waggon-stables, and th 
paunch trade, the Morsholsea flies gets xt-Ty large. P'raps thoy'r 
sent as a consolation, if we only know'd it. How are you now, m; 
dear? No better? No my dear, it ain't to be expected; you'll b 
worse before you're better, and you know it, don't you ? Yes. That' 
right ! And to think of a sweet little cherub being bom inside th 
lock ! Now ain't it pretty, ain't that something to carry you throng! 
it pleasant ? Why, we ain't had such a thing happen here, my dcai 



LTITLB DOKRir. 45 

not for I couldn't smnc the time when. And you a crying too ? '' said 

"Mtb. Bangbam, to ra lly the patient more and more. '* You ! Making 

youndf eo famous ! With tiie flies a falling into the gallipots by fifties ! 

And everything a going on so well ! And here if there ain't/' said Mrs. 

Ba]ig;ham as the door opened, ** if there ain't your dear gentleman along 

with Doctor Haggage ! And now indeed we are complete, I think / " 

The doctor was scarcely the kind of apparition to inspire a patient 
with a sense of ab^lute completeness, but as he presently delivered the 
oianion, ''We are as right as, we can be, Mrs. Bangham, and we shall 
come out of this like a house a fire ;" and as he and Mrs. Bangham took 
possession of the poor, helpless pair, as everybody else and anybody else 
. had always done ; the means at hand were as good on the whole as 
N better would have been. The special feature in Dr. BJaggage'e. treat- 
meat of the case, was his determination to keep Mrs. Bangham up to 
themark. As thus: 

"Mn. Bangham," said the doctor, before he had been there twenty 
nunates, *' go outside and fetch a little brandy, or we shall have you 
giving in." 

A" Thank you sir. But none on my accounts," said Mrs. Bangham. 
'a^Mtb. Bangham," returned the doctor, "I am in professional attend- 
ttceonthiB lady, and don't choose to allow any discussion on your part. 
Go outside and fetch a little brandy, or I foresee that you'll break down." 
"You're to be obeyed sir," said Mrs. Bangham, rising. "If you 
was to put your own lips to it, I think you wouldn't be the worse, for 
yott look but poorly, sir." 

"MiB. Bangham," returned the doctor, ** I am not your business, thank 
you, hut you are mine. Never you mind me, if you please. What you 
have got to do, is, to do as you are told, and to go and get what I bid you." 
Hn. Bangham submitted ; and the doctor, having administered her 
potion, took his own. He repeated the treatment every hour, being 
voy determined with Mrs. Bangham. Three or four hours passed ; the 
flies tell into the traps by hundreds; and at length one little life, hardly 
"tnmger than theirs, appeared among the multitude of lesser deaths. 

"Aveiynicelittlegirlindeed," said the doctor; "little, but well-formed. 
*fll«i, Mfg. Bangham ! You're looking queer ! You be off, ma'am, this 
"^^ijwrte, and fetch a little more brandy, or we shall have you in hj'^terics." 
By tiiig time, the rings had begun to fall from the debtor's irresolute 
■J^ like leaves from a wintry tree. Xot one was left upon them 
*^ nighty when he put something that chinked into the doctor's 
ff^ palm. In the meantime Mrs. Bangham had been out an errand 
to a neighbouring establishment decorated with three golden balls, 
^"Oe ihe was very well known. 

"Thank you," said the doctor, ** thank you. Your good lady is 
Q*>ite composed. Doing charmingly." 
'*Iam very happy and very thankful to know it," said the debtor, 
' ^^ I little thought once, that—" 

That a child would be bom to you in a place like this ? " said the 
^'^ctor. "Bah, bah, sir, what does it signify? A little more elbow-room 



46 LITTLB DOBBIT. 

home, imd to say ho'll stand on the door mat till he is. TS6bodj writes 
threatening letters about money, to this place. If s freedom, sir, it's 
freedom ! I have hod to-day's practice at home and abroad, on a march, 
and aboard ship, and 1*11 tell you this : I don't know that I have erer 
pursued it under such quiet circumstances, as hero this day. Elsewhere, 
people are restless, worried, hurried about, anxious respecting one things 
anxious respecting another. I^othing of the kind here, sir. We have 
done all that — ^we know the worst of it ; we have got to flie bottom, 
wo can't fall, and what have we found ? Peace. That's the word for it. 
Peace." "With this profession of faith, the doctor, who was an old jail- 
bird, and was more sodden than usual, and had the additional and unusual 
stimulus of money in his pocket, returned to his associate and chum in 
hoarseness, puffincss, red-foccdness, all-fours, tobacco, dirt, and brandy. 

Now, the debtor was a very different man from the doctor, but he 
had already begun to travel, by his opposite segment of the circle, to 
the same point. Crushed at first by his imprisonment, he had soon 
found a didl relief in it. He was under lock and key ; but the lock 
and key that kept him in, kept numbers of his troubles out. If he had 
been a man with strength of piupose to fac^e those troubles and fight 
them, he might have broken the net that held him, or broken his heart ; 
but being what he was, he languidly slipped into this smooth, descent, 
and never more took one step upward. 

"Vilien he was relieved of the periiloxod affairs that notliing would 
moke plain, throuj^h having them returned upon his hands by a dozer, 
agents in succession wlio could make neither begbining, middle, nor 
end of them, or him, he found his miserable place of refuge a quieti ;• 
reftige than it had been before. He had unpacked the portmanteau lonp 
ago ; and his elder children now plajTd regularly about the yard, and 
everybody knew the baby, and claimed a kind of proprietorship in her. 

" Why, I'm getting proud of you," said his friend the turnkey, one 
dav. ** You'll be the oldest inhabitant soon. The Marshalsea wouldn't 
be like the Marshalsea now, without you and your family." 

The turnkey really was proud of hini. He would mention him in 
laudatory terms to new comers, when his back wjis tuiT.od. "You took 
notice of him," he would say, "that went out of the Lodge just now ?" 

New comer would probably answer yes. 

" Brought up as a gentleman, he was, if ever a man was. Ed'catttl 
at no end of expense. Went into the Marshal's house once, to try a 
new piano for him. Played it, I understand, like one o'clock — ^beau- 
tiful ! As to languages — speaks anything. We've had a Frcnchmmi 
here in his time, and it's my opinion he knowed more French than the 
Prt^nclmian did. We've had an Italian here in his time, and he shut 
/iim up in about huK a minute. You'll find some characters behind 
other locks, I don't siiy you won't ; but if you want the top sawyer, in 
such respects as I've mentioned, you must come to the Marshalsea." 

When his youngest child was eight yejirs old, his wife, who had lon^ 
been languishing away— of her own inherent weakness, not that slic?' 
retained any greatiT sensitiveness as to her place of abode than he di(2- 
— ^went upon a visit to a poor friend and old nurse in the country, nndL 
died there. He remained shut up in his room for a fortnight after- 
wards ; and an attorney's clerk, who was going through the Insoh-czit; 



LTTTLfi DOERIT. 47 

Court, engrossed an address of condolence to him, which looked like a 
LesM, and which all the prisoners signed. When he appeared again, 
he was greyer (he had soon hegiui to turn grey) ; and the tumkcjy 
noticed that his hands went often to his ti*embling lips again, as the}' 
had used to do when ho first came in. But he got pretty well over it 
in a month or two; and in the meantime the children played about the 
yaid 88 regularly as ever, but in black. 

Then lin. Bangham, long popular medium of communication witli 
the onter world, began to bo infirm, and to bo found oftener than usual 
comatose on pavements, with her basket of purchases spilt, and the 
change of her clients ninepence short. His son began to supersede 
%& fiangham, and to execute commissions in a knowing manner, and 
to he of the prison prisonous and of the streets street}'. 

Time went on, and the turnkey began to fail. His chest swelled, and 
his legs got weak, and he was short of breath. The well-worn wooden 
stod was ** beyond him," he complained. He sat in an arm-chair with 
a cushion, and sometimes wheezed so, for minutes together, that he 
couldn't turn the key. "When he was overpowered by these fits, the 
debtor often turned it for him. 

'• You and me," said the turnkey, one snowy winter's night, when 
the lodge, with a bright fire in it, was pretty fidl of company, " is the 
oldest inhabitants. I wasn't here myself, above seven year before you. 
I rian't last long. 'WTien I'm oft' the lock for good and all, you'll bo 
the Father of the Mar.'*hulsea." 

The turnkey went off the lock of this world, next day. His words 
Wire icmembered and repeated ; and tradition afterwards handed down 
bM generation to generation — a Marshalsea generation might bo 
tdculati'd as about three months — that tlie shabby old debtor with the 
^ft manner and the white hair, Vv'us the Father of the !MarshaIsea. 

Aad he grew to be proud of tlic title. If any impostor had arisen 
t'» claim it, he would have shed Vtars in rosortmcnt of the attempt to 
«. prive him of his rights. A disL.i)0riiti()n bepran to be perceived in him, 
to exaggerate the number of years he bad bvH^n there ; it was generally 
■•ndeBtood that you must dt'duct a lew from his account ; he was vain, 
*!ie fleeting generations of <lebt*)rs said. 

AH new comers were presc-nted to liim. He was punctilious in the 
cxactioa of this ceremonv. The wits would perform the office of intro- 
'^nctionwith overcharged pomp and i)oliteness, but they could not easily 
OHTstep his sense of its gravit}'. He reeeived them in liis poor room 
(ho dialiltcd an introduction in the mere yard, as informid — a thing that 
J*^t happen to anybody), with a IdiA of bow(Kl-duwn beneficence*, 
^r vcre welcome to the Marshalsea, hr' would tell them. Yes, he 
^as the Father of the place. So the ^^ urld was kind enough to call him ; 
^d Ro he was, if more than twenty yeai-s ol' residence gave him a claim 
t') the title. It looked small at fii'st, but tiieie was very good company 
*henv.-aniQng a mixture — ^ii; ccssarily a mix lure — and vt»r}' good air. 

It hccamc a not unusual circumstance I'ur letters to be put under his 
'WOT at night, enclosing half-a-crown, two halt -crowns, now and then 
jit longintenralB even lmlf-a-sovei-ei;,'n, for the Father of the Marshalsea. 
"With the compliments of a collegian taking leave." He received the 
gifts u tributes, from admirers, to a public character. Sometimes these 



48 UTTLB DORBTT. 

coiTCftpondcnts assumed facetious names, as the Bxick, Bellows, Old 
(joofleberry, Wide Awake, Snooks, Mops, Cutaway, the Dogs-meat Man; 
hut he considered this in bad taste, and was always a little hurt, by it. 

In the fulness of time, this correspondence showing signs of wearing 
out, and seeming to require an effort on the part of die correspondents 
1o which in the hurried circumstances of departure many of them mig^t 
not be equal, ho established the custom of attending collegians of a cer- 
Uun standing, to the gate, and taking leave of them there. The collegian 
under treatment, after shaking hands, would occasionally stop to wrap up 
Homething in a bit of paper, and would come back again, calling ''Hi! 

He would look round surprised. '' Me ?" he would say, with a smile. 

By this time the collegian would be up with him, and he would 
l)iitemally add, **What have you forgotten? What can I do for you?" 

"I forgot to leave this," the collegian would usually return, *' fop 
the Pather of the Marshalsea.'' 

" My good sir," he would rejoin, " he is infinitely obliged to you." 
But, to the last, the irresolute hand of old would remain in the pooket 
into which he had slipped the money, during two or three turns about 
the yard, lest the transaction should be too conspicuous to the general 
])ody of collegians. 

One afternoon he had been doing the honors of the place to a rather 
large party of collegians, who happened to be going out, when, aa he 
was coming back, he encountered one from the poor side who had been 
taken in execution for a small sum a week l>efore, had ''settled" in 
the course of that afternoon, and w^as going out too. The man was a 
more Plasterer, in his working dress; liud his wife with him, and a 
bundle ; and was in high spirits. 

" God bless you, sir," he said in passing. 

'* And you," benignantly returned the Father of the Marshalsea. 
^- They were pretty far divided, going their several ways, when the 
PliLsterer called out, " I say ! — sir!" and came back to liim. 

'* It iui*t much," said the Plasterer, putting a little pOe of halfpence 
in his hand, '* but it's well meant." 

The Father of the Marslialsea had never been offered tribute in copper 
yet. His » hihlreu otU'U had, and with his perfect acquiescence it had 
i^one into the common puree, to buy meat that he had eatt'U, and drink 
that lie had dnink ; but fustian splashed with wliite lime, bestowing 
halfpence on him, front to front, was new. 

** How dan» you I" he said to the man, and feebly hurst into tears. 

The* Pliistert»r turned him towards the wall, that his face might not be 
siH'U ; and the a<'ti()n wiut so delicate, and the man was so p(*netrated with 
n*IK'ntanee, and askcMl pardon so honestly, tluit he eould make him no lees 
ii«kn«»wle<lgiuent than, ** 1 know you nieimt it kindly. Say no more." 

*• Bless your soul, sir," urj^ed the Plasterer, **1 did inde<Hl. l*d do 

more bv vou than the rest of 'em do, 1 fanev." 

. . . 

*' What would you do?" he asked. 

•* IM lonie iMiek tt> set* vou, nWvr I was let out." 

'•(Jive me the money a;i:ain," said the other. ea^Tly, ''and I'U 

ktM[» it, and never sjK'nd it. Tluink you for il, thank you! I shall 
see you agiuji y" 

•• If I live a week you shall." 



UTILE DORRIT. 49 

They shook hands and parted. The collegians, assembled in Sympo- 
amn in the Snuggery that night, marvelled what had happened to 
their Father ; he walked so late in the shadows of the yard, and seemed 
80 downcast. 



CHAPTEE VIL 

THE CHILD OF THE MASSHALSEA. 



The baby whose first draught of air had been tinctured with Doctor 
Ibggage's brandy, was handed down among the generations of collc- 
^ans, like the tradition of their common parent. In the earlier stages 
of hcT existence, she was handed down in a literal and prosaic sense ; 
it being almost a part of the entrance footing of every new collegian io 
none Uie child who had been bom in the college. 

"By rights," remarked the turnkey, when she was first shown to 
lum, " I ought to be her godfather." 

The debtor irresolutely thought of it for a minute, and said, "Perhaps 
yott Wouldn't object to really being her godfather ?" 

"Oh! /don't object," replied the turnkey, '' if you don't." 

Thus it came to pass that she was christened one Sunday afternoon, 
^to the turnkey, being relieved, was off the lock; and that the 
tonkeywent up to the font of Saint George's church, and promised 
*nd Towed and renoimced on her behalf, as he himself related when ho 
«nne back, ** like a good 'un." 

5?yB invested the turnkey with a new proprietary share in the child, 
over mi above his fbirmer official one. TVnen she began to walk and 
**^> he became fond of her ; bought a little arm-chair and stood it by 
the high fender of the lodge fireplace ; liked to have her company when 
he was on the lock ; and used to bribe her with cheap toys to come and 
t«k to him^ The child, for her part, soon grew so fond of the turnkey, 
^*t she would come climbing up the lodge-steps of her own accord at 
«^ hojirs of the day. When she fell asleep in the little arm-chair by 
Hie high fender, the turnkey would cover her with his pocket hand- 
*®pWef; and when she sat in it dressing and undressing a doU — 
^oh soon came to be unlike dolls on the other side of the lock, and to 
*^^tt a horrible family resemblance to Mrs. Bangham — ^he would con- 
^plate her from the top of his stool, with exceeding gentleness, 
jl itnesfiing these things, the collegians would express an opinion that 
•he turnkey, who was a bachelor, had been cut out by nature for a 
^^yman. But the turnkey thanked them, and said, *'No,*on the 
^'^ole it was enough for him to see other people's children there." 
, -^Wiiat period of her early life, the little creature began to perceive 
that it vas not the habit of all the world to live locked up in narrow 
J?J^ surrounded by high walls with spikes at the top, would be a 
r^^t question to settle. But she was a very, very, little creature 
^^^ when she had somehow gained the knowledge, that her clasp of 
^ father's hand was to be always loosened at the door which the groat 
'^^y opened; and that while her own light steps were free to pass 



own 



50 LITTLE DOBiUT. 

beyond it, his feet must never croHS that line, A pitiful and plainti^'C 
look, with which she hud begun to regard him when she was Btili 
extremely young, was perhaps a part of this discovery. 

AVith a pitifixl and plaintive look for eveiything indeed, but with 
. something in it for only him that was like protection, this Child of the 
l^farshalsc^a and child of the Father of the Marshalsea, sat by her friend 
the turnkey in the lodge, kept the family room, or wandered about the 
j)rison-yard, for the first eight yean* of her life. With a pitiful and 
plaintive look for her wayward pister; for her idle brother; for the 
high blank walls ; for tlie faded crowd they shut in ; for the games of 
the prison children as they whooped and nm, and plaj'ed at hide and 
•seek, and mjtde^the iron bars of the inner gateway " Home." 

"Wistful anSTwondering, she would sit in summer weatncr by the high 
fender in the Lo<lge, looking up at the sky through the baiTed window, 
until bars of light would arise, when she turned her eyt^ away, between 
her and her friend, and she woidd see him through a gi-ating, too. 

"Thinking of the fiiclds," the tm-iikey said once, uiler watching her, 
"ain't you?" 

"Where are they?" she enquired. 

"Wliy, they're— over there, my dear," said the turnkey, with, a 
vague flourish of his key. " Just about then\" 

" Does anybody open them, and shut them? Are they looked-?" 
The turnkey was discomiited. " Well ! " he said. " Not in general. 
"^Vre they verj- pretty, Bob?" She called liim Bob, by his ow 
particular request and instruction. 

" Lovely. Full of flowers. ThtTe's buttercups, and there's daisies, 
and there's" — the turnkey hesitutod, being short of florid uomen- 
claturci — ** there's dandelions, and all manner of games." 
" Is it verj' pleasant to 1k' there, Bob?" 
" Prime," siud the turukev. 
" Was father ever there?" 

" Hem I " coughed the turnkey. ** ( )li yes, he was there, sometimes." 
" Is he sorry not to be there now ?" 
" y — not particular," said the tumk( y. 

" Xor auy of tlie peo])le?" she asked, glancinir at the lisilcss cix>^\'d 
■within. " are you quite sure and certain, Bob?" 

At this (lifticult point of the conversation Bob gave in, and changed 
the subject to hard-bake : always his last resoune when he found liis 
little friend getting him into a political, social, or theological corner, 
l^ut this was the origin of a scries nf Sunday (»X(;ursions that tlu'se two 
curious companions made toi;rtlier. They usrd to issue from the Lodge 
on alternate Sunday atteni'M.ais with great gravity, Iwund for some 
meadows or green lanes that had been elal>orately appohit(-d by the 
turnkey in the course of the wtek ; and there she picked grass and 
flowers to bring homo, while he smoked his pipe. Afterwards, there 
wen* tea-gardens, shrimps, ale. and oth<r dilicaeies; iind then they 
would come back hiind in hand, unlrss she was more thiui nsuully 
tirt-d, and had fallen asUcp on his shoulder. 

In those early days, the turnkey first Ijegan pri)lvmndly to consider 
a (question which cost him so much mental labor, that it remained 
undettnnined on the dav of liis death. He decided to will and 



LmUS DORRIT. 51 

bcq.'u.^ath his little property of savings to his godchild, and the point 

aroso how coidd it be so **tied up" as tliat only sho should have the 

\)CiLC^& of it? His experience on the lock gave him such an acute 

peieeption of the enormous difficulty of *' tying up " money with any 

ogproach to tightnesSi and contrariwise of the remarkable ease with 

vbich it got loose, that through a series of years he regularly 

piopoanded this knotty point to every new insolvent agent and other 

^im-ssional gentleman who passed in and out. 

'* Supposing," he would say, stating the case with his key, on the 
pTO&flfiional gentleman's waistcoat ; '* supposing a man wanted to leave 
^ property to a young female, iind wanted to tie it up so that nobody 
else shmdd ever be able to make a grab at it; how would you tie up that 
property?" 

"Settle it strictly on herself," the professional gentleman would 
complacently answer. 

"But look here," quoth the turnkey. " Supposing she had, say a 
Mier, say a father, say a husband, who would be likely to make a 
grab at that property when she came into it — ^how about that ? " 

" It would be settled on herself, and they would have no iiiore legal 
claim on it than you," would be the professional answer. 

"Stop a bit," said the turnkey. " Supposing she was tender-hearted, 
and tbey came over her. Where's your law for tying it up then ? " 

The deepest character whom the turnkey sounded, was unable to pro- 
duce his law for tying such a knot as that. So, tlie turnkey thought 
about it aU his life, and died intestate after all. 

But that was long afterwards, when Ids god-daughter was past sixteen. 
Tlw^tirsthalf of that space of her life was only just accomplished, when 
*4 biT pitiful and plaintive look saw her father a widower. Proiu that time 
^y protection that her wondering (^yes had expressed towanls him, 
iiccame embodied in action, and the Child of tlie Marshalsca took upon 
^^^^rself a new relation towards the Tatlier. 

AtfiiBt, such a baby could do little more tlian sit with him, deseiiing 
m liveUer place by the high fender, and quietly watching him. Jhit 
tliisnuule her so fiai* necessary to him that he became acciist«)nied to 
Jjj[^ aiul began to b(^ sensible of missing her when she was not there, 
larough tlus little gate, she passed out of cliildliood into the e are-lath n 

wTiat her pitiful look saw, at that early time, in her father, in iwT 
^i^er, in her brother, in the jail; how much, or howlittk^ of the Avretdu d 
^r^th it pleased G<xl to make visible to her ; lies hidden with many 
^^ysteries. It is enough that she was inspired to be something which 
Tvaa not what tlie rcbt were, and to be that souu^thing, different and 
••uwrious, for the sake of the rest. Inspiivd? Yes. Shall we sjx'ak oi 
tflc iugpiration of a poet or a priest, and not of the heart impelled by 
^^^^^ad self-devotion to the lowliest work in the lowliest way of life! 

" ithno earthly friend to help her, (»r so nnich as to see her, but the one 
80 Btiiuij5oly assorted ; with no knowledp:e even of the common daily tone 
^ nabits of tlie common members of the five community who are nf)t 
sant up in prisons ; bom juid bred, in a social condition, f:dse rveu with 
y reffati^ ^jg to the falsest condition outwdi^ tlu^ Y»'idls; drinking fniii 
^'•^rfa Well whose waters had their own peculiar st/.iii, tluir uv. :: 

£ 2 



52 LrrrLS do&rit. 

unwholesome and unnatural taste; the Child of the Marshalsea began her 
.womanly life. 

No matter through what mistakes and discouragements, what ridicule 
(not unkindly meant, but deeply felt) of her youth and little figure, what 
humble consciousness of her own babyhood and want of strength, even, in 
the matter of lifting and carrying ; through how much weariness and 
hopelessness, and how many secret tears ; she drudged on, until recog- 
nised as usefdl, even indispensable. That time came. She took the 
place of eldest of the three, in all things but precedence ; was the head of 
the fallen family; and bore, in her own heart, its anxieties and shames. 

At thirteen, she could read and keep accounts — ^that is, could put down 
in words and figures how much the bare necessaries that they wanted 
would cost, and how much less they had to buy them with. She had 
been, by snatches of a few weeks at a time, to an evening school outside, 
and got her sister and brother sent to day-schools by desultory Btarta, 
during three or four years. There was no instruction for any of them at 
home ; but she knew weU — no one better — ^that a man so broken as to be 
the Father of the Marshalsea, could be no father to his own children. 

To these scanty means of improvement, she added another of her own 
contriving. Once, among the heterogeneous crowd of inmates there ap- 
peared a dancing-master. Her sister had a great desire to learn the 
dancing master's art, and seemed to have a taste that way. At thirteen 
years old, the Child of the Marshalsea presented herself to the dancing- 
master, Ynih a little bag in her hand, and preferred her humble pctitioai. 

** If you please, I was Iwm here, sir." 

" Oh ! You are the young lady, ore you ?*' said the dancing-master^ 
Bur\'(;ying the small figure and uplifted face. 

" Yes, sir." 

"And what can I do for you? " said the dancing-master. 

** Nothing for me, sir, thank you/' anxiously undrawing the strings of 
the little bag ; " but if, while you stay here, you could be so kind as to 
teach my sintt-r cheaj)— " 

" My child, I'll teach her for nothing," said the dancing-master, 
hhutting up the bag. He was as good-natured a dancing-master as ever 
danced to the Insolvent Court, and he kept his word. The sister was so 
apt u pupil, and the dancing-master had such abundant leisure to bestow 
upon her (for it took hini a matter of ten weeks to set to his creditors, 
lead off, tuni the Commissioners, and right and left back to his pro- 
fessional pursuits), that wonderful j)rogress was made. Indeed the 
dancing-muster was so proud of it» aud m wishful to display it before he 
left, to a few wilect fri<'nds among the collegians, that at six o'clock on a 
<Mi-tain fine morning a minuet de lu cour came oft* in the yard — ^thecolloge- 
roonis ))eing of too confined proportions for the j)urpo8C» — in which so 
much ground was covered, and th(^ Htoj)s were so conscientiously 
<'xeout<*d, that the dancing-niOHter, having to play the kit besides, was 
thoroughly blown. 

Tlie Hucct»ss of this Ix'ginning, wliich lc<l to the daneing-master's con- 
tinuing his instruction iifter his release, emboldened the poor child to 
try again. She watched and waited months, for a seanistn^ss. In the fW- 
ncsrt of time u milliner came in, and to her she re])aired on her owm Whalf. 

" I Ix^g your pardon, mu'am," she said, looking timi'llv rohiidfllii4oor 



UTTLE DOBRIT. 53 

{ t3iO milliner whom she found in tears and in bed : '' bnt I was bom 



>f 



fSTerjbody seemed to hear of her as soon as they arrived ; for the 
myll-JTitfr sat up in bed, drying her eyes, and said, just as the dancing- 
master bod said : 

«• Oh ! YauBxe the child, are you? " 
** Yes, ma'am." 

•* I am sorry I haven't got anything for you," said the milliner, 
fhWIrifig her head. 

^* It's not that, ma'am. K you please I want to Icai^ needlework." 
** Wky should you do that," returned the milliner, " with me before 
ym? It has not done me much good." 

■ " Nothing — ^whatever it is — seems to have done anybody much good 
▼bo eomes here," she returned in all simplicity ; ** but I want to learn, 
jut the same." 
"I am afraid you arc so weak, you see," the milliner objected. 
'^ I don't think I am weak, ma'am." 

"And you are so very, very, little, you see," the milliner objected. 
"Yes, I am afraid I am Very little indeed," returned the Child of the 
Mtnihalwea ; and so began to sob over that unfortunate defect of hers, 
wliieh came so often in her way. The milliner — who was not morose 
whnd-hearted, only newly insolvent — ^was touched, took her in hand 
with good-will, found her the most patient and earnest of pupils, and 1 
niade her a cunning workwoman in course of time. 

In course of time, and in the very self-same course of time, the Father 
^the Marshalsea gradually developed a new flower of character. The 
JDore F atherly he grew as to the Marshalsea, and the more dependant he 
I'ccame on the contributions of his changing family, the greater stand 
he made by his forlorn gentility. With the same hand that had pocketed 
a collegian's half-crown half an hour ago, he would wipe away the 
tens that streamed over his cheeks if any reference were made to his 
^Bj^n* earning their bread. So, over and above her other daily 
^■iwriRe CESd of the Marshalsea had always upon her, the care of 
Pi'BiemDg the genteel fiction that they were cil idle beggars together. 

The sister became a dancer. There was a ruined uncle in the family 
RWup— ruined by his brother, the Father of the Marshalsea, and knowing 
^more how than his miner did, but accepting the fact as an inevitable 
<frtonty— on whom her protection devolved. Naturally a retired and 
KU&ple man, he had shown no particular sense of being ruined, at the 
™e when that calamity fell upon him, further than that he left off 
J**'^*Mng himself when the shock was announced, and never took to that 
luxury any more. He had been a very indifferent musical amateur in his 
hetter days ; and when he fell with his brother, resorted for support to 
phiying a clarionet as dirty as himself in a small Theatre Orchestra. It 
^the theatre in which his niece became a dancer ; he had been a fixture 
there a long time when she took her poor station in it; and he accepted 
the taak of serving as her escort and guardian, just as he would have 
an illness, a legacy, a feast, starvation — anything but soap. 
enable this girl to earn her few weekly shillings, it was necessary 
the Child of tiie Marshalsea to go through an elaborate form i^-ith 
fither. 




5-1 LirrLK DOKEIT. 

" Fanny is not proing to live with us, just now, father. She will be 
liorc n good deal in the day, but she is going to livt* outside with uncle.'* 

** You surpriso mc. \\Tiy ? " 

*^ I think undo wonts a companion, father. He should be attended 
to, and looked after." 

*' A companion ? He passes much of his time here. And you attend 
to him and look after him, Amy, a gre^t deal more than e^Tr your sister 
will. You all go out so much ; you all go out so much." 

This was to keep up the ceremony and pretence of liis having no idea 
that Amy herself went out ])y the day to work. 

*'But we are always ver}- glad to come home, father; now, are wo 
not ? And as to Fanny, perhaps besides keeping uncle company and 
taking care of him, it may be as well ibr her not quite to live here, 
always. She was not bom hero as I was, you know, father." 

" Well, Amy, well. I don't quite follow you, but it's natural I inip- 
poso that Fanny should prefer to be outside, and even that you often 
«!»ould, too. So, you and Fanny and your uncle, my dear, shall have 
yoiu" own way. Good, good. 1*11 not meddle ; don't mind me." 

To get her brother out of the prison ; out of the succe9si<m to Sirs. 
Bangham in executing commifisions, and out of the slang interchange 
with very doubtful companions, cons(H|uent upon both ; was her hardest 
tnsk. At eighteen he would have dragge<l on from hand to mouth, 
from hour to hour, from penny to penny, until eighty. Nobody got into 
'hv prison from whom he derived anything useiul or good, and she could 
tind no patron for him but her old friend and god-father. 

** Dear Bob," said she, ** what is to become of poor Tip ?" His nnmc 
was Edward, and T(?d had been transformed into Tip, within the walls. 

Tlie turnkey had strong private opinions as to what would bi'come of 
])oor Tip, and had even gone so far with th(? view of averting their 
fulfilment, as to sound Tip in referi*nce to the expinliency of running 
:iway and going to serve his country. But, Tip had thanked him, an*l 
'^^aid he didn't seem to can^ for his countr}-. 

** W(?ll my dear," said the turnkey, " something ought to be done 
•ivith liim. Supp()S(» I try and get him into the law ?" 

** That would bo so good of you, Bob I " 

Tlie turnkey had now two points to put to the professional gentlemen 
;:s they passed in and out. He put this sreond one so porst»veringly, 
I hat a stool and twelve sliillings a week were at last found for Tip in 
: >.e office of an attijrney in a great National Palladium called the Palace 
t'ourt ; at that time one of a consid<^rahlc list of everlasting bulwarks to 
:he dignit]i' and safety of Al>»ion, whose ])laces know them no more. 

Tifi languisherl in CliffordV Inn for six months, and at the expiration 

»f that term, sauntered back on(? cA-ening with his hands in his pockets^ 

:;iid incidentally obsen-ed to his sister that he was not going Iwck again. 

**X()t going back again?" said the poor little anxious Child of the* 
^Iai>halsi'a, always cidculuting and planning for Tij), in tlie front rank 
f)f hrr charge's. 

** I am so tired of it," said Tip, " that T have cut it." 

Tip linrl of cverj-thing. With intervals of Marshalsea lounging, and 
?»Ii*s. Biuigham sucei^ssicm, his small s(»rond mother, aidixl by her trusty 
tiieftd, got him into a warehouse, into a market garden, into the bop 



LITTLE DORRIT. 55 

trade, into the law ngiiin, into an anctioncor's, into a brewery, into a 
stockbroker'?, into the law again, into a coach office, into a waggon office, 
into the law again, into a general dealer's, into a distillery, into the law 
again, into a wool house, into a diy goods house, into the Billingsgate 
trade, into the foreign fruit trade, and into the docks. But wluitever 
Tip went into, he came out of tired, announcing that he had cut it. 
TVhcrever ho went, tliis foredoomed Tip appeared to take the prison 
walla with him, and to set them up in sueli trade or calling ; and to 
prowl about within their narrow limits in the old slip-shod, purposeless, 
down-at-heel way ; until the real immoveable Marshalsea walls asserted 
their fiiscination over him, and brought him back. 

Neverthelefis, the brave little creature did so ^x her heart on her 
brother's rescue, that while he was ringing out these doleful changes, 
she pinched and scraped enough together to ship him for Canada. 
TVTien he was tired of notliing to do, and disposed in its turn to cut even 
that, he graciously consents to go to (imada. And there was grief in 
hex bosom over parting with him, and joy in the hope of Ids being put 
in a straight course at last. 

" Grod UosB you, dear Tip. Don't be too proud to come and see us, 
wiien you have made your fortune.** 

" AD right ! " said Tip, and went. 

Bat not all the way to Canada ; in fact, not further than Liverpool. 
After waking ^e voyage to that port from London, he foimd himself so 
strongly impelled to cut the vessel, that he resolved to walk back again. 
Canying out which intention, he presented himself l>efore her at the 
expiration of a month, in rags, without slioes, and much moro tired 
than ever. 

At length, after another interval of successors] lip to Airs. Bangham, 
he found a pursuit for himself, and announci»d it. 

** Amy, I have got a situation." 

" Have you really and truly. Tip?" 

*' AH right. I shall do now. You needn't look anxious about mc 
any more, old girl." 

•'Whatisit, Tip?" 

"Why, you know Slingo by sight? " 

" Not the man they cnll the denier?" 

" That's the chap. He'll be out on Monday, and he's going to give 
mc a berth." 

" What is he a denier in, Tip ? " 

" Horses. All right ! I sliall do now. Amy." 

She lost sight of him for months afterwards, and only heard from 
him once. A whisper passed among the elder collegians that lie had 
been seen at a mock auction in Moorfic^lds, pretending to buy plated 
articles for massive silver, and paying for them with tlie gieatest 
liberalit}' in bank notes ; but it never reached her ears. One evening 
she was alone at work — standing up at the window, to save the t>vi- 
light lingering above the wall — wh(?n he opened the door and walked in. 

She lassed and welcomed him; but was afraid to ask him any 
question. He saw how anxious and timid she was, and appeared 
sorry. 

** I am afraid, Amy, you'll be vexed this time. Vpon my lifi* I 
am ! " 



^6 UTTLE DORRIT. 



'' I am Yery sorry to hear you say so, Tip. Have you come back ? '^ 
" Why— yes." 

" Not expecting this time that what you had found would answer 
very well, I am less surprised and sorry than I might haye been, 

"Ah ! But that's not the worst of it." 

"Nottheworstof it?" 

" Don't look so startled. Xo, Amy, not the worst of it. I have 
come back, you see ; but — don't look so startled — ^I have come back in 
what I may call a new way. I am off the volunteer list altogether. 

I am in now, as one of the regulars." 

" Oh ! Don't say you are a prisoner, Tip ! Don't, don't ! " 

''Well, I don't want to say it," he returned in a reluctant tone; 
*' but if you can't understand me without my saying it, what am I to 
do ? I am in for forty pound odd." 

For the first time in all those years, she sunk under her cares. 8ho 
cried, with her clasped hands lifted above her head, that it would kill 
their &ther if he ever knew it ; and fell down at Tip's gracdess feet. 

It was easier for Tip to bring her to her senses, than for her to bring 
him to understand that the Father of the Marshalsea would be beside 
himself if he knew the truth. The thing was incomprehensible to 
Tip, and altogether a fanciful notion. He yielded to it in that light 
only, when he submitted to her entreaties, backed by those of his 
uncle and sister. There was no want of precedent for his return ; it 
was accounted for to the father in the usual way ; and the collegians, 
with a better comprehension of the pious fraud than Tip, supported it 
loyally. 

Tliis was the life, and this the hintory, of the Child of the Marshal- 
wa, at twenty-two. With a still surviving attachment to the one 
miserable yard and block of houses as her birthplace and home, she 
])assed to and fro in it shrinkingly now, i^dth a womanly consciousness 
that she was pointed out to every one. Since she had begun to work 
iK-yond the walls, she had found it necessary to conceal where she 
lived, and to come and go as scpretly as she could, between the free 
city and the iron gates, outside of which she had never slept in her 
life. Her original timidity had grown with this concealment, and her 
lif^ht step and her little figure shunned the thronged streets while they^ 
passed along them. 

Worldly wise in hard and poor necessities, she was innocent in all 
things else. Innocent, in the mist through which she saw her £ither, 
and the prison, and the turbid living river that fiowed through it and 

II owed on. 

This was the life, and this the history, of Little Dorrit ; now going 
home upon a dull September evening, observed at a distance by Arthur 
(Icnnam. This was the life, and this the history, of Little Domt ; turn- 
ing at the end of London Bridge, recrossing it, going back again, passing 
<»n to Saint George's church, turning back suddenly once more, and 
Hitting in at the open outer gate and little courtyard of the Marshulsca. 



LTTTLB DORRTT. 57 



CHAPTER Vni. 

THB LOCK. 

AiZHUE Clexnak stood in tho street, waiting to ask some passer-by 
what place that was. He suffered a few people to pass him in whoso 
iaoes there was no encouragement to make the inquiry, and still stood 
pausing in the street, when an old man came up and turned into the y ' 
court-yard. '^^•' 

He stooped a good deal, and plodded along in a slow preoccupied'^ 
Buumer, which made the bustling London thoroughfares no very safe 
resort fbr him. He was dirtily and meanly dressed, in a threadbare 
coat, once blue, reaching to his ankles and buttoned to his chin, where 
it vanished in the pale ghost of a velvet coUar. A piece of red cloth 
vith which that phantom had been stiffened in its lifetime was now 
laid bare, and poked itself up, at the back of the old man's neck, into 
a cooftiaon of grey hair and rusty stock and buckle which altogether 
i^caii^ poiked lus hat off. A greasy hat it was, and a napless ; im- 
'pQiduig over his eyes, cracked and crumpled at the brim, and with a 
^ of pocket handkerchief dangling out below it. His trowscrs 
^ere so long and loose, and his shoes so clumsy and large, that ho 
shufled like an elephant ; though how much of this was gait, and how 
much trailing cloth and leather, no one could have told. Under one 
am he carried a limp and worn-out case, containing some wind instru- 
ment ; in the same hand he had a pennyworth of snuff in a little packet 
of whitey-brown paper, from which he slowly comforted his poor old 
blue nose with a lengthencd-out pinch, as Arthur Clennam looked at him. 
To this old man, crossing the court>yard, he preferred his inquiry, 
touching him on the shoulder. The old man stopped and looked round, 
with the expression in his weak grey eyes of one whose thoughts had 
been far off^ and who was a little dull of hearing also. 
"Fray, sir/' said Arthur, repeating his question, ** what is this place?" 
" Ay 1 Tliis place ? " returned the old man, staying his pinch of 
sfluff on its road, and pointing at the place mthout looking at it. 
'^Xhifl is the Mardbdsea, sir." 
" The debtors' prison ? " 

" Sir," said the old man, with the air of deeming it not quite neces- 
sary to insist upon that designation, ** the debtors' prison." 
He tamed himself about, and went on. 

•* I beg your pardon," said Arthur, stopping him once more, " but will 
^QjuJlow me to ask you another question ? Can any one go in hero ? " 
I *' Any OM oe& ^o tn," replied the old man ; plainly adding by the ^- 
lagnificance of his emphasis, *' but it is not every one who can go out." 
~ ** Pardon me once more. Are you familiar i^-ith the place ? " 

** Sir," returned the old man, squeezing his little packet of snuff in 
fuM hanid, and turning upon his interrogator as if such questions hurt 
him, " I am." 



58 . UTTLB DOERTT. 

" I beg you to excuse me. I am not impertinently curious, but have 
a good object. Do you know the name of Dorrit here ? " 

** My name, sir," replied the old man most unexpectedly, " is 
Porrit/' 

'Arthur pidled off his hat to him. " Grant me the favour of half a 
dozen words. I was wholly unprepared for your announcement, and 
hope that assurance is my sufficient apolog}' for ha\'ing taken the liberty 
of addressing you. I have recently come home to England after a long 
absenoe. I have seen at my mother's — Mrs. Clennam in the city — a 
young woman working at her needle, whom I have only heard addressed 
or spoken of as Little Dorrit. I have felt sincerely interested in her, 
land have had a great desire to know something more about her. I saw 
her, not a minute before you came up, pass in at that door." 

The old man looked at him attentively. " i\je you a sailor, sir ? " 
he asked. He seemed a little disappointed by the shake of the head 
that replied to him. "Not a sailor? I judged from your sunburnt 
face that you might be. Are you in earnest, sir ? " 

" I do assure you that I am, and do entreat you to beHcve that I am, 
in plain earnest. 
^^. " I know very little of the world, sir,'* returned the other, who had a 
j^- weak and qimvering voice. *' I am merely passing on, like the shadow 
^ over the sun-dial. It would be worth no man's while to mislead me; it 
would really be too easy — too poor a success, to yield any satiafaction. 
The young woman whom you saw go in here is my brother's child. My 
brother is William Dorrit; I am Frederick. You say you have seen her 
at your mother's (I know your mother bcfricmds her), you have felt an 
interest in hor, and you wish to know what she does here. Come and sec." 
He went on again, and .Vrthur accompanied him. 
" My brother," said tlie old man, pausing on the step, and slowly 
facing round again, ** has been here many years ; and much that happens 
even among ourselves, out of doors, is kept from him for reasons that I 
needn't enter upon now. Be so good ns to say nothing of my niece's 
working at her needle. Be so gocwl as to pay nothing that goes beyond 
what is said among us. If you keep witliin our bounds, you cannot 
well be wrong. Kow ! Come and s<.^e." 

Arthur followed him down a narrow entry, at the end of which a key 
was turned, and a strong door was opened from within. It admitted 
them into a lodge or lobby, across which they passed, and so through 
anotlier door and a grating into the prison. ITie old man always plod- 
ding on before, turned round, in his slow, stiff, stooping manner, when 
they came to the turnkey on duty, as if to present his companion. 
The turnkey nodded ; and the companion passed in without being a^ked 
v.hom lie wanted. 

The night was dark ; and the prison lamps in the yard, and the candles 
in the prison windows faintly shining behind many sorts of wr}' old 
<urtain and blind, had not the air of making it lighter. A few pi'uplc 
loitered alwut, but the greater part of the po])ulation was "within doors. 
The old man taking the right-hand side of the yard, tume<l in at the 
third or fourth doorway, and began to ascend the stairs. *' They arc 
rather dark, sir, but you will not find anything in the way." 

He jMuiscd for a moment before opening a door on the second story. 



LITTLE DORRIT. 59 

JLo had no sooner turned the handle, than the visitor saw Dorrit, and 

^x^r the reason of her setting so much store by flining alone. 

/"She had brought the meat home that she should have eaten herself, 

(and was already warming it on a gridiron over the fire, for her father, 

\dad in an old ^^y gown and a black cap, awaiting his supper at the 

table. A clejm cloth was spread before him, with knife, fork, and 

spoon, salt-cellar, pepper-box, glass, and pewter ale-pot. Such zcgts as 

&s particular little phial of cayenne pepper, and his pennyworth of 

pickles in a saucer, were not wanting. 

She started, coloured deeply, and himed white. The visitor^ more- 
with his eyes than by the slight impulsive motion of his hand, entreated] 
her to be reassiut^d and to trust him. 

*'I found this gentleman," said the uncle — "Mr. Clennam, "Willianl,^ 
wn of Amy's friend — at the outer gate, wishful, as he was going by, of 
ptring his respects, but hesitating >vhcrther to come in or not. This is 
my brother William, sir." 

*• I hope," said -tVrthur, verj- doubtfiil what to say, " that my respect 
for your daughter may explain and justify my desire to be presented to 
vou, sir." 

" Mr. Clennam," returned the other, rising, taking his cap off in the 
fiat of his hand, and so holding it, ready to put on again, '' you do 
me honor. You are welcome, sir." "With a low bow. "Frederick/j.*' 
a chair. Pray sit down, Mr. Clennam." 

He put his black,, cop on again ar9 he had taken it off, and resumed 
hii own seat. Tliere was a wonderful air of benignity and patronage 
m his manner. These were the ceremonies -with which he receivt»d the 
wUegians. 

" You are welcome to the ^larshalsea, sir. I have welcomed man] 
gmtlemen to these waUs. Perhaps you are aware — ^my daughter Am] 
nay have mentioned — ^that I am the Yatlier of this place." 
** I — BO I have understood," said Arthur, dashing at the assertion. 
" You know, I dare say, that my daughter Amy was bom here. A 
gM girl, sir, a dear pp^rl, and long a comfort and support to me. 
Amy, my dear, put the dish on ; Mr. Clennam -will excus(» the ])rimitive 
f'Wtoms to which we are reduced here. Is it a compliment to ask you 
i^ytm would do me the honor, sir, to — ^" 
•* Thank you," returned Arthur. *^ Xot a morsel." 
He felt himself quite lost in wonder at the iiuiouer of the man, and 
^hat the probability of his daughter's ha\nng had a reser>'e as to her 
inmilv history, should be so far out of his mind. 

She filled his glass, put all thi^ litth* matters on the table ready to his 
hand, and then sat beside him whih; he ate his sup])er. Evidently in 
<»h^'rranco of their nightly custom, she put some bread before herself, 
-ind touched his glass with her lips; but Arthur saw she was troubled 
azuLtook nothing. Her look at her father, half admiring him and proud 
of him, half-ashamed for him, all devoted and loving, went to his 
umost heart. 

'The Father of the Marshalsea condescended towards his brother as an 
amiable, well-moaning man; a private character, who had not airived at 
difltinrtion. " rrederick," said he, " you and Tanny sup at your lodgings 
to-nif^t, I know. What have you done with Fanny, Frederick ? " 



60 LirrLE DOBJUT. 

" She is walking with Tip." 

'' Tip— as you may know — ^is my son, Mr. Clcnnam. He has been a 
little wild, and difficult to settle, but his introduction to the world was 
rather*' — ^ho shrugged his shoulders with a &dnt sigh, and looked round 
the room — " a little adverse. Your first visit here, sir ? " 
"My first." 

" You could hardly have been here since your boyhood without my 
knowledge. It very seldom happens that anybody — of any pCfllWIUttUL 
v^^ — any pretensions — comes here without being presented to mo." 

" As many as forty or fifty in a day have been introduced to my 
brother," said Frederick, fainUy lighting up with a ray of pride. 

'* Yes!" the Father of the Marshalsea assented. **Wo have even 
exceeded that number. On a fine Sunday in term time, it is quite a 
Levee — quite a Levee. Amy, my dear, I have been trying half the day 
to remember the name of the gentleman from Camberwcll who waa 
introduced to me last Christmas week, by that agreeable coal-merchant 
who was remanded for six months." 
'' I don't remember his name, father." 
" Frederick, do you remember his name ? " 

Frederick doubted if he had ever heard it. No one could doubt that 
Frederick was the last person upon earth to put such a question to, 
with any hope of information. 

'' I mean," said his brother, '' the gentleman who did that handwomp 
action with so much delicacy. Ha ! Tush ! The name has quite escaped 
me. Mr. Clennam, as I have happened to mention a handsome and 
delicate action, you may like, perhaps, to know what it was." 

* * Very much," said Arthur, withdrawing his eyes from the delicate head 
beginning to droop, and the pale face with a new solicitude stealing over it. 
'' It is so generous, and shows so much fine feeling, that it is almost a 
duty to mention it. I said at the time that I always would mention it oa 
every suitable occasion, without regard to personal sensitiveness. A — 
well — a — it's of no use to disguise the fact — you must know, Mr. 
Clennam, that it doi's sometimes occur that people who come here, desire 
to offer some little — Testimonial — to the Father of the place." 

To see her hand upon his arm in mute entreaty half repressed, and her 
timid little shrinking figure turning away, was to see a sad, sad sight. 

** Sometimes," he went on in a low, soft voice, agitated, and clearing 
his throat everj' now and then ; ** sometimes — ^hem — it takes one shape 
and sometimes another ; but it is generally — ^ha — Money. And it is, I 
cannot but confess it, it is too often — hem — acceptable. This gentleman 
that I refer to, was presented to me, Mr. Clcnnam, in a manner highly 
gratifjring to my feelings, and conversed not only with great politeneaa, 
but with great — ahem — information." All this time, though he had 
tinished his supper, he was ner\'ously going about his plate with his knife 
and fork, as if some of it were still before him. " It appeared from his 
(tonversation that he had a garden, though he was delicate of mentioning- 
it at first, as gardens are — hem — are not accessible to me. But it came 
out, through my admiring a very fine cluster of geranium — ^beautiftil 
cluster of geranium to be sun* — which he had brought from his con- 
servatory. On my taking notice of its rich color, he showed me a piece 
of paper round it, on which was written * For the Father of the Mar- 



LITTLB DORRIT. 61 

shalsea,' and presented it to me. But this was — ^hem — ^not all. He made 
a particular request, on taking leave, that I woidd remove the paper in 
half-an-hour. I — ^ha — I did so; and I found that it contained— nahem — 
two guineas. I assure you, Mr. Clennam, I have received — hem — ^Testi- 
monials in many ways, and of many degrees of value, and they have 
alwajB been — ^ha — ^imfortunately acceptable; but I never was more 
{leased than with this — ahem — this particular Testimonial.'* 

Arthur was in the act of saying the little he coidd say on such a 
iheme, when a bell began to ring, and footsteps approached the door., 
fi^prctty girl of a far better figure, and much more developed thanv 
' little Borrit, though looking much younger in the face when the two 
; were observed together, stopped in the doorway on seeing a stranger ; 
Lind a young man who was with her, stopped too. 

"Ifr. Clennam, Fanny. My eldest daughter and my son, Mr. 
Olennam. The bell is a signal for visitors to retire, and so they have 
come to say good night ; but there is plenty of time, plenty ol time. 
Giris, Mr. Clennam will excuse any household business you may have 
logetiier. He knows, I dare say, that I have but one; room here." 

" I only want my clean dress from Amy, father," said the second girl. 

"And 1 my clothes," said Tip. 

Amy opened a drawer in an old piece of furniture that was a chest of 
drawers above, and a bedstead below, and produced two little bundlei?, 
tbichshe handed to her brother and sister. "Mended and made up?" 
CSennam heard the sister ask in a whisper. To which Amy answered 
"Yes." He had risen now, and took the opportunity of glancing round the 
wom. The bare walls had been colored green, evidently by an unskilled 
luuad, and were poorly decorated with a few prints. The window was cur- 
tibed, and the floor carpeted; and there were shelves, and pegs, and other 
wdi conveniences, that had accumulated in the course of years. It was a 
doie, confined room, poorly furnished; and the chimney smoked to boot, 
wllietin screen at the top of the fireplace was superfluous; but constant 
IWM and care had made it neat, and even, after its kind, comfortable. 

All the while the bell was ringing, and the uncle was anxious to go. 
*'Come Fanny, come Fanny," he said, with his ragged clarionet case 
^uider his arm ; "the lock, child, the lock ! " 

Fanny bade her father good night, and whisked off airily. Tip had 
"^^y clattered down-stairs. " Now, Mr. Clennam," said the imcle, 
looking back as he shuffled out after them, " the lock, sir, the lock." 

Mr. Clennam had two things to do before he followed; one, to offer 
J)s testimonial to the Father of the Mai-shulsca, without giving pain to 
*U3 child; the other to say something to that child, though it were but 
• ^onl, ia explanation of his having come there. 

Allow me," said the Father, " to see you down-stairs." 

^chad slipped out after the rest, and they were alone. " Wot on any 
*I^W/' said the visitor, hurriedly. "Pray allow me to — " chink, 
^•I»mk, chink. » . J 

" Mr. Clennam," said the Father, "I am deeply, deeply — " But 
™*^tor had shut up his hand to stop the chinking, and had gone 
"O^-Btairs with great speed. 

•■*« saw no littie Dorrit on his way doTvn, or in the yard. Tlie last 

^o or three stragglers were hum-ing to the lodge, and he was foWoViiv^, 



I 



62 LITTLE DOK&IT. 

when ho caught sight of her, in the door^'ay of the first house ironx 
the entrance. He turned bock hastily. 

" Pray forgive mo," he said, *' for speaking to you hero ; pray forgive 
me for coming here at all ! I followed you to-night. I did so, th£^ I 
might endeavour to render you and your iamily some service. You know 
the terms on which I and my mother are, and may not be surprised 
that/ 1 have preserved our distant relations at her house, lest I ^ould 
unintcntionany make her jealous, or resentM, or do you any injury in 
her estimation. What I have seen here, in this short time, has greatly 
increased my heartfelt wish to be a ioaOii to you. It would recompense 
me for much disappointment if I could hope to gain your confidence." 

She was scared at first, but seemed to take courage while he i^poke 
to her. 

" You are very good, sir. You speak very earnestly to me. But I 
— but I wish you had not watched me." 

He understood the emotion with which she said it, to arise in her 
father* s behalf; and he respected it, and was silent. 

" Mrs. Glennam has been of great service to me ; I don't know what 
we shoidd have done without the employment she has given me ; I am 
afi^d it may not be a good return to become secret with her ; I can ear 
no more to-night, sir. I am sure you mean to bo kind to us. Thank 
you, thank you." 

^* Let me ask you one question before I leave. Have you knoiirn my 
mother long?" 

"I think two years, sir. — The bell has stopped." 

" How did you know her first ? Did she send here for you ?" 

**No. She does not even know that I live here. We have a I'riend, 
father and I — a poor laboring man, but th(; best of friends — and I wrote 
out that I wished to do needlework, and gave his address. And hv got 
what I wrote out displayed at a few places when; it cost nothing, aiid ^Ixs. 
Clennam found me that way, and sent for me. The gate wUl be locked, sir !' ' 

She was so tremulous and agitated, and he was so moved by compas- 
sion for her, and by deep interest in her story' us it dawned upon him, 
that he coidd scarcely tear himself away. But the stoppage of the bell, 
and the ciuiet in the prison, were a warning to depart ; and with a lew 
hurried words of kindness he left her gliding back to htT father. 

But he had remained too lat(.'. The inner gate was lot^ked, and the 
lo<lge closed. After a little fruitless knocking with liis hand, he was 
standing tliere with the disagreeable conviction upon him ihiit ho bad 
to get tlirough the night, when a voice accosted him from behind. 

** Caught, eh ?" said the voice. ** You won't go home till uiurning. — 
Oh ! It's you, is it, Mr. Cleimam ?" 

The voice was Tip's ; and they stood looking at one anoUier in llie 
prison-yard, as it began to rain. 

'* You*ve done it," observed Tip; '* you must be sharper tlian that, 
next time." 

** But vou are locked in too," said Arthur. 

" I believe I am ! " said Tip, siux'^isticidly. '' About I But not in 
your way. I behmg to the shop, only my sister lias a tlieorj' that our 
governor must never know it. I don't see why, myHcliV 

** Can 1 get any shelter?" asked Arthui-. *' What had I Letter do:" 



UTILE DOKEIT. 68 

"▼a Ifad better get hold of Amy, first of all,*' said Tip, referring 
flUJ fifl^plfy to her, as a matter of course. 

"I'wmii rather walk about all night — it's not much to dor— than 
9l«fti|Jk»ubIc.'' 

1 "ToBiieln't do that, if you don't mind pajing for a bed. If you 
lUtwiaifupJigf they'll make you up one on the Snuggery table, under 
JtJB flWWroPOC'8. If you'll come along, I'U introduce you there." 

Afi AflvpMMd down the yard, Arthur looked up at the window of 
the room JIB bad lately left, where the light was still burning. " Yes, 
sir," said Tip, following his glance. " That's liic governor's. She'll sit 
witli him for another hour reading yesterday's paper to him, or some- 
thing of that sort ; and then she'll come out like a little ghost, and 
yani^ away without a sound." 

''I don't understand you." 

" The governor sleeps up in tlie room, and she has a lodging at the 
tonkey's. First house there," said Tip, pointing out the doorway into 
which she had retired. *' First house, sky parlor. She pays twice as 
much for it as she would for one twice as good outside. But she stands 
wy the governor, poor dear girl, day and night." 

This brought them to the tavern-establishment at the upper end of the 
prinn, where the collegians had just vacated their social evening club. 
Tbe ipartmcnt on the ground-floor in which it was held, was the 
Snoggiery in question; the presidential tribune of the chairman, the 
pcwter-pots, glasses, pipes, tobacco- ashes, and general flavor of mem- 
ben, were still as that con\-i\-ial institution had left them on its 
adjounmient. The Snuggery had two of the qualities populai'ly held to 
be esKntial to grog for ladies, in respect that it was hot and strong ; 
but in the third point of analog}', requiring plenty of it, the Snuggeiy 
vas defective : being but a cooped-up apartment. 

The imaccustomed visitor from outside, natiu-allj' assumed every- 
body here to be prisoners — ^landlord, waiter, barmaid, potboy, and all. 
Aether they were or not, did not appear ; but they all had a weekly 
look. The keeper of a chandler's shop in a front parlor, who took in 
gentlemen boarders, lent his assistance in making the bed. He had 
been a tailor in his time, and had ki^t a phaeton, he said. He boasted 
^t he stood up litigiously for the interests of the college ; and he had 
'"^•fintd and undefinable ideas that the marshal intercepted a "Fund," 
which ought to come to the collegians. He liked to bcliive this, and 
alvavB impressed the shadowy grievance on new comers and strangeis ; 
though he could not, for his life, have explained what Fund he meant, m 
hov the notion had got rooted in his soul. He had fully convinced hini- 
^% notwithstanding, that his own proper share of the Fund was three 
and nine-pence a week; and that in this amount he, as an individmJ col- 
j^'pan, vasswindlcd by the marshiil, regularly everv'Mombiy. Apparently, 
"^' helped to make the bed, tliat he might not lose an opportunity of 
^«ting this case; after which unloading of his mind, and after announcing 
\^^ it seemed he always did, without anything coming of it), that he was 
?^ to write a letter to the papers and show the marshal up, he fell 
into ndseellaneous conversation with the rest. It was evident from 
the general tone of the whole part}-, that they had come to regard in- 
solvency as the nonnal state of mankind, and the payment of debts «i^«x 
"**®we that occasionally broke out. 



;4 LITTLE DORUIT. 

In fliis fltrango Bcono, and with these strange spectres ffitttig about 
him, Arthur Clonnam looked on at th(^ preparations, as if thej were part 
of a dream. Pending which, the long-initiated Tip, ^^-ith an awftal engoy- 
ment of the Suuggery*s resources, ])oiiitifd out the common kitebfiO lire 
maintained by subscription of collegians, the boiler for hot water sup- 
ported in like manner, and other premises generally twidhig to the 
deduction that the way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, iraatooometo 
the Marsholsea. 

Tlie two tables put together in a eonier, were, at lengUi, ooiiTerted 
intoaverj' fair bed; and the stranger was left to the Windsor chairs, the 
presidential tribune, the beer}* atmosphere, sawdust, pipe-lights, spittoons 
and reposi'. But the last item was long, long, long, in linking itself to 
the rest. Tlie novelty of the place, the coming upon it without prepa- 
ration, the si>use of Ix-ing locked up, the remembrance of that room 
up-stairs, of the two brothers, tmd above all of tlu^ n^tiring childish form, 
and the face in which he now saw years of insufficient ibod, if not of 
wont, kept him waking and unhappy. 

Speculations, too, bewaring the strange >st relations towards the prison, 
but always concerning the ])riH(m, ran like nightmares through his mind 
while he lay awake. AMiether coflins were kept ready for people who 
might die there, where they were kept, how they were kept, where people 
who died in the prison were buried, how they were taken out, what forms 
were obsen'ed, whether an implacable creditor could anrest the dead ? As 
to escaping, what chances then? were of escaiK' ? Wh(?ther a prisoner 
could scale the walls with a cord and grapple, how he would descend upon 
the other side : wlu>ther he could alight on a housetop, steal down a 
stain-asi', let himself out at a d(M>r, and get lost in the crowd? As to 
Vire in the pris<jn, if one were to bn-uk out while he lay there? 

And tliese involuntary starts of fancy were, after all, but the sotting 
of a j)ieture in whieh thn-e people kept before him. His father, with 
the sttKlfast look with which he had (lii*(l, prophetically darkened forth 
in the portrait ; his mother, with her arm up, warding off his suspicion : 
Little l)oiTit, with her hand on the degraded arm, and her drooping head 
turned awav. 

AVhat if his mother had an old reason she well knew for softening 
to this poor girl I What if the ])risimer now sleeping (juietly — Heaven 
grant it I — by the light of the gi-eat Day of Judgment should trace Ixiek 
his fidl to her. What if any act of hers, and of his father's, shouhl have 
even remotely brought the gn'y heads of those two brothers .so low ! 

A swift thought shot into his mind. In that long inij)ris(inment here, 
and in her own long confinement to lu>r room, did his mother iind a 
balance to Ix- struck? T admit that I was accessor}- to that man's 
rajitivity. I have suffen*d for it in kind. He has decayed in his prison ; 
i in mine. I hav(> ]mid the ]>enalty. 

When idl the other thoughts had faded out, this <»ne held possession 
of him. When hv fell asleep, she came befon^ liim in her wheeled choir, 
wanling him off with this justification. When he awoke, and sprang up 
causelessly frightened, thewonls were in his ««ars, us if her voice had 
shiwly BiHiken them at his pillow, to break his rest: **He withers away in 
his jjrison; 1 wither away in mine ; inexorahU- justice is done; what 
do I owe on thi< koII' I *' 



UTTLE DORRIT. 65 



CHAPTER IX. 

LITTLE MOTHER. 

The morning light was in no hun*}' to climb the prison wall and look 
in at the snnggcry windows ; and when it did come, it would have been 
more welcome if it had come alone, instead of bringing a rush of rain 
with it. But the equinoctial gales were blowing out at sea, and the 
impartial south-west wind, in its flight, would not neglect even the 
nanow Marshalsea. While it roared through the steeple of Saint 
Geoi]ge*8 Church, and twirled all the cowls in the neighbourhood, it 
made a swoop to beat the Southwark smoke into^tho jail; and, plunging 
down the chimneys of the few early collegians who were yet lighting 
their fires, half suffocated them. 

Aitiiur dennam would have been little disposed to linger in bed, 
thou^ his bod had been in a more private situation, and less ajBfcctedby 
Ae raking out of yesterday's fire, the kindling of to-day* s under the 
ooQegiAte boiler, the filling of that Spartan vessel at the pump, the 
svceping and sawdusting of the common room, and other such prepara- 
tions. Heartily glad to see the morning, though little rested by tho 
nigjit, ho turned out as soon as he could distinguish objects about him, 
and paced the yai*d for two heavy liours bcfor(j the gate was opened. 

The walls were so near to one another, and the wild clouds hurried 
over them so last, that it gave liim a sensation like the beginning of sea- 
sickness to look up at the gusty sky. The rain, carried aslant by 
^IfWB of wind, blackened that side of the central building which he had 
""*itcd last night, but left a narrow dry trough imder the lee of the 
^. where he walked up and down among waifs of straw and dust and 
I*per, the'waste droppings of the pump, and the stray leaves of yestcr- 
w'b greens. It was as haggard a view of life as a man need look upon, 
^or was it relieved by any glimpse of the little creature who had 
hronght him there. Perhaps she glided out of her doorway and in at 
™t where her father lived, while his face was turned from both ; but 
ho saw nothing of her. It was too early for lior brother ; to have scon 
"^ opce, wjis to have seen enough of him to know that he would hv 
'*l%iah to leave whatever frows}- bed he occupied at night ; so, as 
-Vithar Clennam walked up and down, waiting for the gate to open, ho 
^"^ about in his mind for future nither than for present means of piu- 
■*uing his discoveries. 

At hut the lodge-gate turned, and the turnkey, stimding on the step, 
taking an early comb at his hair, was ready to let him out. With a jo3rful 
'*f^. of release he passed through the lodge, and found himself again in 
^^?^ outer courtyard where he had spoken to the brother last night. 
i'«*^ was a string of people already straggling in, whom it was not 
ftimcitl^ to identify as the nondescript messengers, go-betweens, and 
"T"*^"^JWew of the place. Some of them had been lounging in the 
ram until the gate Should open ; others, who had timed their amvA \\\\\\ 



€6 LITTLE DOKRIT. 

jprcutcr nic^ity , were coming up now, and passinp; in with damp whitey- 
brown paper bafi;s from the grocers, loaves of bread, himps of butter, 
(*gg8, milk, and the like. The shabbiness of these attendants upon shab- 
biness, the poverty of these insolvent waiters upon insolvency, was a sight 
to see. Such threadbare coats and trousers, such fusty gowns and Bhawls, 
such squashed hats and bonnets, such boots and shoes, such umbrellas and 
walking-sticks, never were seen in Rag Fair. All of them wore the cast- 
off clothes of other men and women ; were made up of patches and pieces 
of other people^s individuality, and had no sartorial existence of their own 
proper. Their walk was the walk of a race apart. They had a peculiar 
way of doggedly slinking round the comer, as if they were eternally going 
to the pawnbrokers. When they coughed, they coughed like people 
luicustomed to be forgotten on door-steps and in draughty passages, 
waiting for answers to letters in faded ink, which gave the recipienta of 
those manuscripts great mental disturbance, and no satisfieustion. As 
they eyed the stranger in passing, tliey eyed him vnth. borrowing eyes 
— ^hungry, sharp, speciilative as to his softness if they were accredited to 
him, and the likelihood of his standing something handsome. Mendicity 
on commission stooped in their high shoidders, shambled in their unsteady 
legs, buttoned and pinned and darned and dragged their clothes, frayed 
their button-holes, leaked out of their figures in dirty little ends of tape, 
and issued from their mouths in alcoholic breathings. 

As these people passed him standing still in the courtyard, and one of 
them turned back to enquire if he could assist him with his services^ it 
came into Arthur Clennam's mind that he would speak to Doirit again 
N^fore he went away. She would have recovered her first surprise, and 
might feel easier with him. He uskod this member of the fhitemi^ 
(who had two red herrings in his hand, and a loaf and a blacking-brush 
under his arm), where was the nearest place to get a cup of coffee at. 
The nond(!Hcript n'plied in encouraging terms, and brought him to a 
<ofr<ie-Hhop in the street within a stone^s throw. 

*' Do you know Miss Dorrit? " iisked the new client. 

Th(^ nondescript knew two ^Liss Dorrits ; one who was bom inside — 
That was the one I That was tlie one ? The nondescript had knovm hcT 
many yiMirs. In reganl of Uie other Miss Dorrit, tlie nondescript lodged 
in tlio same house with h(»njelf and uncle. 

This changed the dient^s half- formed design of n^maining at the 
cofTee-shop until the nondescrript should bring him word that Dorrit 
liad issued forth into the street. He entmsted the nondescript witii a 
ronfidential nu '^i^ylge to her, importing that the visitor who had waitetl 
on her father last night, begged the favor of a few words witli her at 
her uncle's lo<lging ; he obtained from the same source full directions 
to the hmis(», which was verj' near; dismissed the nondescript gratified 
with half-a-rro\ni ; and having hastily n'freshid himself at the coffee- 
shoj), repaired with all sjx^ed to the clarionet-player's dwelling. 

Then* were so many lodgi»rs in this ]ious(», tliat th(* door-post seemed 
1o 1m' as full of bf'll -handles as a cathedral organ is of stops. DoubUTil 
which might lx» the clarionet -stoj), he was roiisidering the point, when a 
ihuttlecock fl<'w out of the ]KU*lor window, and idighted on his hat. 
He then obw-n'^'d that in the parlor-window was a Idind with the 
'TH- ijifioii, Mi:. ('i:iiM*i,rs*s A(\i»KMV ; also in imothf-r lire, EvT='Ni>ii 



UTTLB DORIUT. (i7 

TpiTiox ; and behind the blind was a little white-fiiced ^oy, with a 
<dioe of bread and butter, and a battledore. The window being acci s- 
:sible from the footway, he looked in over the blind, returned the shut- 
tleooeky and put his question. 

" J)oirit?" said the Httle wliite-faecd boy (Master Cripples in fact\ 
" J6-. Dorrit ? Third beU and one knock/' 

T3ie pupils of Mr. Cripples appeared to have been making a copy- 
book of the street door, it was so extensively scribbled over in pencil. 
.The frequency of the inscriptions, " Old Dorrit," and '* Dirty Dick,*' 
in oflmbination, suggested intentions of x)er8onality on the part of Mr. 
dippIefl'B pupils. There was ample time to make these observati6n.s, 
he&se the door was opened by the poor old man himself. 

*' Ha ! " said he, very slowly remembering Arthur, " you were shut 
in iMt night?" 

" Yea, Mr. Dorrit. I hope to meet your niece here presently." 
** Oh ! " said he, pondering. " Out of my brother's way ? True. 
Would you come up-stairs and wait for her ? " * 
" Thank you." 

Tmning himself^ as slowly as he turned in his mind whatever he 
or said, he led the way up the narrow staiitt. The house was 
veiy doaey and had an unwholesome smell. The little staircase win- 
dows looked in at the back windows of other houses as unwholesome us 
itaelf^ with p<des and lines thrust out of them, on which imsig^tly 
linen hung : as if the inhabitants were angling ibr clothes, and had had 
9(8ne wretched bites not worth attending to. In the back garret — a 
9€kly room, with a turn-up bedstead in it, so hastily and recently 
turned up that the blankets were boiling over, as it were, and keeping 
the lid open — a half-finished breakfast of coffee and toast, for two 
persons, was jumbled do>\Ti anyhow on a ricketty table. 

There was no one there. The old man, mumbling to himself^ after 
some consideration, that Fanny had i-uii away, went to the next room 
to fetch her back. The visitor, observing that she held the door on the 
iiuide, and that when the uncle tried to open it, there was a shaqi 
adpintion of "Don't, stupid!" and im appearance of loose stocking and 
flannel, concluded that the young lady was in an undress. The uncle, 
without appearing to come to any conclusion, shuffled in again, sut 
down in his chair, and began waiming his hands at the fire. Xot that 
it was cold, or that he had any waking idea whether it was or not. 

" What did you think of my brotlicr, sir ? " he asked, when he, bye 
;jid bye, discovered what he was doing, left off^, reached over to the 
rhinmey-picce, and took his clarionet casc^ do^vn. 

** I was glad," said Arthur, very much at a loss, for his thoughts 
wcfe on the brother before him ; ''to find liim so well and cheerful." 
"Ha!" muttered the old man, ''Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes ! " 
Arthur wondered what he coidd possibly want with the clarionet 
•^■e. He did not want it at all. He discovered, in due time, that it was 
?*t the little paper of snuff (which was also on the chimney-piece), put 
^t iMd again, took down the snuff instead, and solaced himself with a 
PJ*^ He was as feeble, spare, and slow in his pinches as in everything 
''1*1 bat a certain little trickling of rnjoyment of them plnycvl in 
'"''poor worn nen'os about iho c.ojtc}^ oi'V]< 'nos and mouth. 

V ^ 



B.' 



\ 



y, 68 LITl'LE DORRIT. 

"**■ "Amy, 3Ir. Cloiiiium. Wmt do you think of her?" 

" I am much impressed, ATr. Dorrit, by all that I have seen of her 
and' thou«;ht of her." 

'* My brother would have been quite lost ^i-ithout Amy," he returned. 
** We should all have been lost without Amy. She is a ver}- good girl, 
Amy. She does her duty." 

Arthur fancied that he heard in these praises, a certain tone of custom 
which he had heaixl from the father last night, "withan inward protest andf 
feeling of antagonism. It was not that they stinted her praises, or went 
insensible to what she did for them ; but that they were lazily habituated 
to her, as they were to all the rest of their condition. He fancied that 
although they had before them, every day, the means of comparison between 
her and one another and themselves, they rt»garded her as being in her 
necessar}' place ; as holding a position towards them all which belonged 
to her, like her name or her age. He fancied that they viewed her, not as 
ha^-ing risen away from the prison atmosphere, but as appertaining to 
it; as being vaguely wh&t they had a right to expect, and nothing more. 

Her uncle resimiwl his breakfast, and was mimching toast sopped in 
coffee, oblivious of his guest, when the third bell rang. That was 
Amy, he said, and went down to let her in ; leaving the visitor with 
as nvid a picture on his mind of his begrimed hands, dirt-worn fisice, 
and decayed figure, as if he were still drooping in his chair. 

She came up after him, in the usual plain dress, and with the umud 
timid manner. Her lips were a little parted, as if her heart beat 
faster than usual. 

**Mr. Clonnam, Amy," said her uncle, **has been expecting you 
some time." 

** I took the liberty of standing you a message." 

** I received the message, sir." 

" iVre you going to my mother's this moniing ? I think not, for it 
is past your usual hour." 

**Xot to-day, sir. I am not wante<l to-day." 

** Will you jJlow me to walk a little way in whatever direction you 
may be going? I can then speak to you as we walk, both "wdthout 
detaining you hen;, and without intruding longer here myself." 

Sht looked embarrassed, but said, if he pleased. He made a pre- 
tence of having mislaid liis walking-stick, to give her time to set the 
lK»dstead right, to answer her sister s im])aticnt knock at tlie wall, and 
to say a word softly to her uncle. Tlicn he found it, and they went 
doMTi-stairs ; she first, lie follo\nng, the uncle standing at the stair-head, 
and probably forgetting them before they had n^ached the ground floor. 

Mr. CrippWs pupils, who were by this time coming to school, 
<lesisted from their morning Recreation of cufting one another with bags 
and books, to stare with all the eyes they had at a stranger who had 
iK'en to si»e Dirtj' Dick. They bore the trj-ing spectacle in silence, until 
the mysterious >'isitor was at a safe distance ; when they burst into 
pi»bl)les and yells, and likewise* into reviling dances, and in all respect* 
buried the pij)e of peace with so many savage ceremonies, that if 
Mr. Cripples had been the chief of the Cripplewayboo tribe with his 
war-paint on, they could scarcely have done gn'ater justice to their 
education. 



LITTLE DORIUT. CD 

In the midst of this homage, Mr. Arthur Cloimam offered his arm 
to Little Dorrit, and Little Dorrit took it. ** Will you go by the Iron 
Uridge," said he, " where there is an escape from the noise of the; 




Cripples 

cTening academy. He returned, with the best Anil in the world, * 
•that Mr. Cripples's boys were forgiven out of the bottom of his soul. 
TliM did Cnpples unconsciously become a master of the ceremonies 
between them, and bring them more naturally together than Beau Nash 
anight have done if they had lived in his golden days, and he had 
ali^ted from his coach and six for the purpose. 

The morning remained squally, and the streets were miserably 
muddy, but no rain fell as they walked towards the Iron Bridge. The 
little creature seemed so young in his eyes, that there were moments 
when he found himself thinking of her, if not speaking to her, as if 
Ae were a child. Perhaps he seemed as old in her c^ycs as she seemed 
yoongin his. 

" I am sorry to hear you were so inconvenienced last night, sir, as 
to be locked in. It was very unfortunate." . -//^ 

It was nothing, he returned. He had had a verj- good be<l. - '/'^ 

I^Ohyea!" she saidqmckly; ** she believed there were excellent - 
[beds at the coffee-house." Ho noticed that the coffee -hoiLse was quite 
"a.majeatic hotel to her, and that she treasured its reputation. 

*• I believe it is verj- expensive," said Littli> Dorrit, '* but my father 
bw told me that quite beautiful dinners may l)e got there. ^Vnd 
^ine," she added timidly. 

" Were you ever there ? " 

/'Oh no ! Only into the kitchen, to fetch hot- water." 
' To think of growing up witli a kind of awe upon one as to the 
'luxuries of that superb establishment, the MarahaLsea hotel I '>''* 

*' I asked you last night," said Clennam, '*how you had become 
•acquainted with my mother. Did you ever hear her name Ijefore she 
««itforyou?" 

; No, sir." 

**Do you think vour father ever did ? " 

"No, sir." * . . . 

He met her eyes raised to his with so much wonder in them (she? 
^WBctrcd when that encounter took place, and shnmk away again;, 
"^t he felt it necessary to say : 

"I have a reason for asking, which I cannot very well explain ; but 

yw mart, on no accoimt, suppose it to be of a nature to cause you the 

w^ alarm or anxiety. Quite the reverse. And you tliink that at no 

""Beofyourfiither's life was m^-name of Clennam ever familiar to him?" 

Ao, nr." 

^ Mt, from the tone in wliich she spoke, that she was glancing uj) 
t^Umwith those parted lips; therefore he looked before him, rather 
MH make her heart beat quicker still by embarrassing her afresh. 

Thus they emerged upon the Iix)n Bridge^ which was as quiet after 
tile roaring streets, as though it had been o])en countrj-. The wind 
Wew roughly, the wet «|ualls came rattling past them, skimming the 



> 



7(» LITTLE DOEEIT. 

pools on the road and paToment, and raining them doifiii into the rirer. 
The clouds raced on furiously in the lead-colored sky, tiie smoke and 
mist raced after them, the dark tide ran fierce and strong in the same 
direction.. little Dorrit seemed the least, the quietest, and weakest of 
Jeaven^s creatures. 

^* Let me put you in a coach," said Arthur Clennam, very nearly 
adding, "my poor child." 

She hurriedly declined, saying that wet or dry made little difference 
to her ; she was used to go about in all weathers. He knew it to be 
so, and was touched with more pity ; thinking of the slight figure at 
his side, making its nightly way through the damp, dark, boistenms 
streets, to such a place of refst, 

** You spoke so feelingly to me last night, sir, and I found after- 
wards that you had been so generous to my father, that I could not 
resist your message, if it was only to thank you; especially as I widied 
very much to say to you — " she hesitated and trembled, and tears 
rose in her eyes, but did not fall. 

''Tosay tome— ?" 

'' That I hope you will not misunderstand my Mhor. Don't judge 
him, sir, as you would judge others outside the gates. He has beoi 
there so long ! I never saw him outside, but I can understand that he 
must havo grown different in some things since." 

" My thoughts will never be luijust or harsh towards him, believe me." 

" Not," she said, with a prouder air, as the misgi\'ing evidently aept 
upon her that she might seem to be abandoning hun, '' Not that he has 
anything to bo ashamed of for himself, or that I have anything to be 
ashamed of for him. He only reciuircs to be imdorstood. I only ask 
for him tliat his lit(^ may be fairly remembered. All that he said was 
(juite true. It all happened just as he related it. He is very much 
respected. Ever}*body who comes in, is glad to know him. He is 
more courted than any one else*. He is fur more thought of than the 
Harshal is." 

If ever pride were inynocent, it was innocent in Little Dorrit when 
she grew boastful of her father. 

** It is often said that his manners are a tnie gc^ntleman's, and quite 
a study. I see none like them in that place, but he is admitted to be 
superior to all tlu* rest. Tliis is quite as much why they make him 
presents, as because they know him to be ne(*dy. He is not to be blamed 
for being in need, poor love. Who could be in prison a quarter of a 
century, and be prosperous ! " 

AMiat affection in her words, what compassion in her reprc^ssed tears, 
wliat a great soul of fidelity within her, how true the light that shed 
false brightness round him ! 

** If I have foimd it best to conceal wliere my liome is, it is not 
because* I am ashamed of him. (ioD forbid I Xor am I so much 
ashamed of the place itself as might l>e supposed. People arc not bad 
bc»cau8t» they come there. I liave knoiini nimibers of good, persevering, 
honest people*, come there through misfortune. They are almost iH 
kind-hearted to one another. And it would be ungrateful indeed in me, 
to forget that I have had many quiet, comfortable hours there ; that I 
had an excc»llent friend then* when I was quite a baby, who wob very 



UTILE DORUIT. 71 

fond of me; that I hare been taught there, and have worked there, 
and hare alcpt soundly there. I think it would be almost cowardly 
and cruel not to have some little attachment for it, after all this." 

fflie bad relieved the fiEdthful fulness of her heart, and modestly said, 
niBingher ejres appcalingly to her new friend's, ''I did not mean to 
ny 80 much, nor have I ever but once spoken about this before. But it 
wenu to set it more right than it was last night. I said I wished you 
liad not followed me, sir. I don't wish it so much now, unless you 
ehoold think — ^indeed I don't wish it at all, unless I should have spoken 
eo oonfuBedly, that — ^that you can scarcely understand me, which I am 
ifeud may be the case." 

He told her with perfect truth that it was not the case ; and putting 
Umeelf between her and the sharp wind and rain, sheltered her as well 
88 he could. 

"I feel permitted now," he said, " to ask you a little more concern- 
iog yonr &ther. Has he many creditors ? " 

''Ok ! a great number." 

"I mean detaining creditors, who keep him where he is ? " 

"Oh yes ! a great number." 

" Can you tell me — ^I can get the information, no doubt, elsewhere, 
if TO cannot — ^who is the most influential of them ? " j 

Oorrit said, after considering a little, that she used to hear long ago 
rf Mr. Tite Barnac le as a man of great power. He was a commissioner, 
« aboard, or a trustee, *' or something." He lived in Grosvenor 
Sqiiare, she thought, or very near it. He was under Government — ^high 
^ the Circumloc utio n Offic e. She appeared to have acquired, in her 
^i^Boicj', some aw Ail imprt»ssion of the might of this formidable Mr. 
^ Barnacle of Grosvenor Square, or vcjrj- near it, and the Circum- 
vention Office, which quite crushed her when she mentioned him. 

"It can do no harm," thought Arthur, "if I see this Mr. Tite 
Barnacle." 

Hie thought did not present itself so quietly but that her quickness 
"^tewsepted it. "Ah!" said Little Dorrit, shaking her head with 
Me mild despair of a lifetime. " Many people used to think once of 
Kitting my poor father out, but you don't know how hopeless it is." 

She forgot to be shy at the moment, in honestly warning him away 
"jni the sunken wreck he had a dream of raising ; and looked at him 
J^th eyes which assuredly, in association with her patient face, her 
Jl^Be figure, her spare dress, and the wind and rain, did not turn him 
^^ his purpose of helping her. 

** Even if it could be done," said she — "and it never can be done now — 

^hepe could father live, or how could he live ? I have often thought 

^t if such a change could come, it might bo anj-thing but a service to 

"^ now. People might not think so well of him outside as they ^ 

^ there. He might not be so gently dealt with outside, as he is 

^^. He might not be so fit himself for the life outside, as he is for 
that" 

Here for the first time she could not restrain her tears from falling ; 
^flie little thin hands he had watched when they were so busy, 
^i^onbled as they clasped each other. 

" It would be a new distress to him even to know that I earn a little 



72 LITTLE DOB&IT. 

money, and that Fanny cams a little money. He is so anxious about 
us, you see, feeling helplessly shut up there. Such a good, good 
father ! " 

He let the little burst of feeling go by before he spoke. It was soon 
gone. She was not accustomed to think of herself, or to trouble any 
one with her emotions. He had but glanced away at the piles of city 
roofs and chimneys among which the smoke was rolling heavily, and at 
the wilderness of masts on the river, and the ^i-ildemess of steeples on 
the shore, indistinctly mixed together in the stormy haze, when she was 
again as quiet as if she had been plying her needle in his mother* s room. 

" You would be glad to have your brother set at liberty ? " 

** Oh very, very glad, sir ! " 

** Well, we will hope for him at least. You told me last night of a 
friend you had?" 
j^ His name was Plomish, Little Dorrit said. 

'"^ And where did Plomish live ? Plomish lived in Bleeding Heart 
Yard. He was " only a plaste rer," Little Dorrit said, as a caution to 
him not to form high social expectations of Plomish. He lived at 
the last house in Bleeding Heart Yard, and his name was over a little 
gateway. 

Arthur took down the address and gave her his. He had now done 
all he sought to do for the present, except that he wished to leave her 
with a reHance upon him, and to have something like a promise from her 
that she would cherish it. 

" There is one friend !" he said, putting up his pocket-book. " As I 
take you back — you arc going back ? " 

*' Oh ves ! going straight home." 

" As i take you back," the word home jarred upon him, ** let mc 
ask you to ix^rsuade yourself that you have another friend. I make no 
professions, and say no more." 

*' You are truly kind to me, sir. I am sure I need no more." 

They walked back through the miserable muddy streets, and among 
the poor, mean shops, and were jostled by the crowds of dirty hucksters 
usual to a poor neighbourhood. There was nothing, by the short way, 
that was pleasant to any of the five senses. Yet it was not a common 
jmssage through common min, and mire, and noise, to Clennam, having 
this little, slender, careful creature on his arm. How young she seemed 
to him, or how old he to her ; or what a secret either to the other, in 
that bi'ginning of the destined interwea^-ing of their stories, matters not 
hen'. He thought of her having been bom and bred among these scenes, 
and Hhrinking through them now, familiar yet misplaced ; he thought 
of laT long ac([uaintance with the 8<jualid net^ds of Hfe, and of her inno- 
ri'nw ; of her old solicitude for others, and her few years and her 
rliildiHh aspect. 

'lliey were come into the High Street, where the prison stood, when 
u voice cried, "Little mother, little mother!" Dorrit stopping and 
Nioking back, an excited figure of a strange kind bounced against them 
''•(till er}'ing ** little mother"), fell doA^Ti, and scattered the contents of 
II large* basket, filled with potatoes, in the mud. 

"Oh, Maggy," said Dorrit, **what a clumsy child you are ! " 

Ma^gy was not hurt, but picked herself up immediately, and then 



* 






, * 



LITTLK DoaniT. 73 

began to pick up the potatoes, in which both Dorrit and Arthur 
Clennam helped. Maggy picked up very few potatoes, and a great /J • f ^ 
<iuantity of mud; but Siey were all recovered, and deposited in the I ^. ?- 
basket. ICaggy then smeared her muddy face with her shawl, and ^c 

presenting it to Mr. Clennam as a type of purity, enabled him to see \ 

what she was like. ^ 

She was about cight-and-twenty, with large bones, large features, ^ 
large feet and hands, large eyes, and no hair. Her large eyes were limpid 
and almost colorless ; they seemed to be very little affected by light, and 
to stand unnaturally still. There was also that attentive listening ex- 
pression in her fece, which is seen in the faces of the blind ; but she was 
not blind, having one tolerably serviceable eye. Her face was not ex- 1 
cccdingly ugly, ^ough it was only redeemed from being so by a smile;; 
a good-humoured snule, and pleasant in it«elf, but rendered pitiable by 
being constantly there. A great white cap, with a quantity of opaque 
frilling that was always flapping about, apologised for Maggy's bsdd- 
ness ; and made it so very diificult for her old black bonnet to retain its 
place upon her head, that it held on round her neck like a gipsey*s 
baby. A commission of haberdashers could alone have reported what 
the rcBt of her poor dress was made of ; but it had a strong general 
resemblance to sea- weed, with here and then* a giganti6 tea-leaf. Her 
shawl looked particularly like a tea-leaf, after long infrision. 

Arthur Clennam looked at Dorrit, with the expression of one saying, 
" May I ask who this is ? '* Dorrit, whose hand this Maggy, still 
calling her little mother, had begun to fondle, answered in words. 
(They were under a gateway into which the majority of the potatoes 
had roUed.) 

" This is Maggy, sir." 

" Maggy, sir," echoed the personage presented. '* Little mother I" 

" She is the grand-daughter" — said Donit. 

*' Crrand-daughter," echoed Maggy. 

*' Of my old nurse, who has been dead a long time. Maggy, liow >/ 
old are you ? " 

'* Ten, mother," said Maggy. 

" You can't think hoV good she is, su'," said Donit, ^vith infinite 
tenderness. 

" Good the is," echoed Maggy, transferring the pronoun in a most 
expressive way from herself, to her little motlier. 

'• Or how clever," said Dorrit. " She goes on errands as well as 
anyone." Maggy laughed. " And is as trustworthy as the Bank of Eng- 
land." Maggy laughed. " She earns her own li\'ing entirely. Entirely, 
^ir I " said Dorrit in a lower and triumphant tone. ** Ecally does ! " 

*' What is her history ? " asked Clennam. 

** Think of that, Magg}^ ! " said Dorrit, taking her two large hands 
and clapping them together. ** A gentleman Irom thousiuids of miles 
away, wanting to know your history ! " 

** J/y history ? " cried Maggy. ** Little mother." 

" She means me," said Dorrit, ratlier confused; ** she is very much 
attached to me. Her old grandmother was not so kind to her as she 
should have been ; was she, Maggy ? " 

Maggy shook her head, made a drinking vessel of her clenclied loft 



74 UlTLE DO&RIT. 

hand, drank out of it, and said, ''Gin/' Tlien beat an imaginary 
^ ehild, and said, '' Broom-handles and pokers." 

i' y ** When Maggy was ten" years old," said Dorrit, ii-atching hear hoe 
^ while she spoke, '' she had a bad fever, sir, and she has never grown 
any older ever since." 

** Ten years old," said Magg}', nodding her head. " But what a nice 
hospital ! 80 comfortable, wasn't it ? Oh so nice it was. Such a 
Ev*nly place ! " 

** She had never been at peace before, sir," said Borrit, turning 
towards Arthur for an instant and speaking low, ** and she always 
runs off upon that." 

"Such beds there is there!" cried Maggy. ** Such lemonades! 
Such oranges ! Such d'licious broth and wine ! Such Chicking ! Oh, 
ain't it a delightful place to go and stop at ! " 

" So Maggy stopped there as long as she could," said Dorrit, in her for- 
mer tone otHelling a child's story ; the tone designed for Maggy's ear, * * and 
at last, when she could stop there no longer, she came out. ^en, becanae 
she was never to be more than ten years old, however long she lived — ^" 

" However long she lived," echoed Maggy. 

*' And because she was very weak ; ind^d was so weak that when she 
began to laugh she couldn't stop herself — ^which was a great pity — " 

(Magg}' mighty grave of a sudden.) 

'' Her grandmother did not know what to do with her, and for some 
years was very imkind to her indeed. At length, in course of Hme, 
Maggy began to take pains to improve herself, and to be very atten- 
tive and very industrious ; and by degrees was allowed to coilie in and 
out as often as slie liked, and got enough to do to support herself, and 
does support herself. And that," said Little Dorrit, clapping the two 
gn»at hands together again, **is Maggy's history, as Maggy knows ! " 
^ Ah ! But Arthur would have known what was wanting to its complete- 
'ness, though he had never heard the words Little mother; though he had 
never seen the fondling of the small spare hand; though he had had no 
sight for the tears now standing in the colorless eyes ; though he had 
had no hearing for the sob that checked the clumsy laugh. The dirty 
gateway with the wind and rain whistling through it, and the basket of 
muddy potatoes waiting to be spilt again or taken up, never seemed the 
common hole it really was, when he looked back to it by these lights. 
Never, never I 

■ They were very near the end of their walk, and thiy now came out of 
the gateway to finish it. Nothing would serve Maggy but that they 
must stop at a grocer's window, short of their destination, for her to 
show her learning. She could read after a sort ; and picked out the &t 
figures in the tickets of prices, for the most part correctly. She also 
stumbled, with a large balance of success against her failures, through 
various philanthropic recommendations to Try our Mixture, Try our 
Family Black, Try our Oningc-flavoured Pekoe, challenging competition 
at the head of Flowery Teas ; and various cautions to the public against 
spurious establislmients and adulterated articles. When ho saw how 
]>leasure brought a rosy tint into Dorrit' s face when Moggv made a Ydtf 
he felt that he could have stood there making a library of the grooec^S 
window until the rain and wind were tired. 



ULTTLB DOttKIT. 75 



The court-yard received them at last, and there he said good-bye t> 
Xattle Dorrit. Little as she had always looked, she looked less than 
erer when he saw her going into the Marshalsea lodge passage, tlm^ 
l ittle mother attended by hex big child. ^ 

X'iie cage door opened, and wlen the small bird, reared in cap- 
tixity, had tamely fluttered in, he saw it shut again ; and then he came 
iwav. 



CHAPTER X. 

CONTAINING THE WHOLE SCIENCE OF GOVEBNMENT. 

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without beings 
told) the mpst important Department under government. "No public 
bumieBB of any kind could possibly be done at any time, without the 
acquiescence of the Circumlocution Offie^.^ Its finger was in the largest 
pid& pie, and in the smalleet public tart. It was equally impossible to 
do tile plunest right and to undo the plainest wrong, without tlie express 
iu&mty of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had 
been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody 
voold have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been 
Wf a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official 
nau»anda, and a family- vault-full of ungrammatical correspondence, 
fltt the part of the Circiunlocution Office. 

This glorious establishment hiid been early in the field, when the one 
nblime principle invoh-ing the difficult art of governing a country, was 
fint distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study 
^ bri^t revelation, and to carry its shining influence through the 
whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the 
pu'enmlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments 
u^ ttie art of perceiving — ^how not to no it. 

Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it in- 
^*n«bly seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted 
^ it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public 
"*Pftrtments ; and the public condition had risen to be — ^what it was. 

It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all 
P^ departments and professional politicians all round the Cirrnmlneu^ 
^Office. It is. true that every new premier and every new govem- 
Jtent> eoming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to 
he done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties 
to&co?ering. How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when 
* SeoQial election was over, every returned man who had been raving 
2 ^^istings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the 
r*«odp of the honorable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of 
""pe^diment to tell him why it hadn't be(*n done, and who had been 
^■•ting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it 
^T^ be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true 
"*fcfte debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, 
'""fcmdy tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is 
"^ that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, 



70 UTTLE DO&EIT. 

My lords and geutlemeu, vou have a considerable stroke of work to do, 
and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss. 
How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such 
session, ^-irtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several 
laborious montlis been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, 
How not to do it, and you have foimd out ; and with the blessing of 
l*rovidence upon the harx'est (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. 
-Vll this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went bevond it. 

Bi'cause the Circumlocution Office went on mc^chanicallv, every dar, 
keeping this wonderM, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship. How untta 
do It, in motion. Because the Circumlocution Office was down ujyon any 
ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to li 
by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, 
tmd a memorandum, and a letter of instructions, that extinguished him. 
It was this spirit of national efficiency in the Circumlocution Office 
that had gradually led to its having something to do with everything. 
Methanicians, natural philosophers, soldiers, sailors, petitioners, me- 
morialists, people with grievances, people who wanted to prevent 
grievances, people who wanted to redress grievances, jobbing people, 
jobbed people, people who couldn't get rewarded for merit, and people 
who couldn't get punished for demerit, were all indiscriminately tucked 
up under the foolscap paper of the Circumlocution Office. 

Niunbcrs of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unforta- 
nates with i^Tongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and thev 
had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English 
recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony 
had passed safely through other public d(*partments ; who, according to 
iiile, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the 
other; got referred at last to tlie Circumlocution Office, and never 
reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries 
minuti^l upon them, commissioners gabbled about tliem, clerks registqred^ 
entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they molted away. In sliort, 
all tlie business of the countrj' went through the Circumlocution Officx*, 
except the business that never came out of it ; and itf< name was Legion. 

Sometimes, angry spirits attacked the Circiimlocution Office. Some' 
times, parliamentar}' questions wore asked about it, and even ])arliamentar3 
motions made or threatened a]>out it, by demagogues so low and igno- 
rant as to hold that the real reoipt* of govcmnunt was, HpvT to do it. 
Then would the nol)le lord, or right honorable gentleman, in whose de- 
]»artment it was to defend the Cinjiunlocution Office, i)ut an orange ir 
his jKKjket, and make a reguhir field-day of the occasion. Then woulr" 
he com(» down to that House with a slap upon the table, and mci»t th( 
honorable gentleman f<x)t to foot. Then would he be there to tell thai 
honorable gentleman tlmt the Circumlocution ()ffi<'0 not only was blame 
h»ss in this matter, but was commendable in this matter, was extollabh 
to the skies in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honor 
able gentleman, that, although the Circumlocution Office was invariabh 
right and wholly right, it never was so right as in this matter- Thei 
would he 1h' then* to tell that honorable gentleman that it would hav< 
Imh'U more to his honor, more to his credit, more to his good taste, men 
to his goo<l senw», more to half the dictionarj' of commonplaces, if h« 



UTTLE DOERIT. 77 

had left the Circumlocution Office aloncy and never approached this 
matter. Then would ho keep one eye upon a coach or crammer firom 
the Ciicamlocution Office sittmg helow the bar, and smash the honorable 
gentleman witii the Circumlocution Office account of this matter. And 
althongh one of two things always happened ; namely, either that the 
Ciieomlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had 
sometiiing to say of which the noble lord, or right honorable gentleman, 
blundered one half and forgot the other f the Circumlocution Office wa.«* 
alwojs voted immaculate; by an accommodating majority. 

Such a nursery of statesmen had the department become in virtue of a 
lonj career of this nature, that several solemn lords had attained the 
ratation of being quite unearthly prodigies of business, solely firom 
iving practised, How not to do it, at the head of the Circumlocution 
As to the minor priests and acolytes of that temple, the result 
of aU this was that they stood divided into two classes, and, down to , 
the junior messenger, either believed in the Circumlocution Office as a V 
lieaTen-bom institution, tEaTEadan alisolutc right to do whatever it liked; 
or took refiige in total infidelity, and considered it a flagrant nuisance. 

The Bamaclo family had for some time helped to administer the 
Circumlocution Office. The Tite Barnacle Branch, indeed, considered 
tliemflelves in a general way as having vested rights in that direction, and 
took it ill if any other family had much to say to it. The Barnacles were 
averyhigh family, and a very large family. They were dispersed all over 
tbe public offices, and held all sorts of public places. Either the nation 
▼a« under a load of obligation to the Barnacles, or the Barnacles wen^ 
iinder a load of obligation to the nation. It was not ciuite unanimously 
settled which ; the Barnacles ha^-ing their opinion, the nation theirs. 

The^ltr. Tite Barnacle who at the period now in question usually coached j'* 
orcnSmed the statesman at the head of the Circumlocution Office, when 
that noble or right honorable indi>adual sat a little uneasily in his saddle, 
hy reason of some vagabond making a tilt at him in a newspaper, was 
inore ftush of blood than money. As a Barnacle he had his place, which 
▼M a snug thing enough ; and as a Barnacle he had of course put in his 
'^ Barnacle Junior, in the office. But he had intermarried \nt\\ a branch 
of theStiltstalkings, who were also better endowed in a sanguineous point 
of new than with real or personal property, and of this marriage then' 
had been issue. Barnacle Junior, and three young ladies. AMiat -with the 
patrician requirements of Barnacle Junior, the three young ladies, Mrs. 
Tite Barnacle nee Stiltstalking, and himself, 'Mr. Tite Barnacle foimd 
the mtervals between quarter day and quarter day rather longer than 
he could have desired ; a circumstance which he always attributed to 
the country's parsimony. 

For Mr. Tite Barnacle, Mr. Arthur Clennam made his fifth enquir}- one 
^«y at the Circumlocution Office ; ha>'ing on preWous occasions awaited 
that gentleman successively in a hall, a glass case, a waiting room, and 
^ firi'-proof passage where the department seemed to keep its wind. On 
this occasion Mr. Barnacle was not engaged, as he had been before, with 
th<* noble prodig}' at the head of the department ; but was absent. 
*J^niach? Junior, however, was announced as a lesser star, vet ^-isible 
aho\y the office horizon. 
AWth Barnacle Junior, he signified his desire to confer; and found 



.-/ 



7 8 LITTLE DORBIT. 

that young gentleman singeing the calves of his legs at the parental 
lire, and supporting his spino against the mantel-shelf. It was a oom- 
foriable room, handjBomely furnished in the higher official maimer; and 
presenting sUitely suggestions of the absent Barnacle^ in the thick 
carpet, the leather-covered desk to sit at, the leather-covered desk to 
stand at, the formidable easy chair and hcaith-rug, the inteipoeed scareen, 
the tom-up papers, the dispatch-boxes with little labels sticking out of 
them, like medicine bottles or dead game, the pervading smell of leather 
and mahogany, and a general bamboozling air of How not to do it. 

The present Barnacle, holding Mr. Clcnnam's card in his hand, had a 
youthful aspect, and the fluffiest little whisker, perhaps, that ever was 
seen. Such a downy tip was on his callow chin, that he seemed half 
fledged like a young bird ; and a compassionate observer might have 
urged, that if he had not singed the calves of his legs, he would hsve 
died of cold. He had a superior eye-glass dangling round his neck, but 
unfortunately had such flat orbits to his eyes, and such limp little eyelids, 
that it woul^'t stick in when he put it up, but kept tumbling out againat 
his waistcoat buttons with a click that discomposed him very muck. 

'' Oh, I say. Look here ! My &ither*s not in the way, and won't be in the 
way to-day," said Bamade Junior. '*Is thia anything that I can do?'* 

f Click! Eye-glass down. Barnacle Junior quite frightened and 
feeling all round himself, but not able to And it.) 

" You are very good," said Arthur Clennam. ** I wish however to 
see Mr. Barnacle." 

'' But I say. Look here ! You haven't got any appointment, you 
know," said ^Barnacle Junior. 

(By this time he had found the eye-glass, and put it up again.) 

*' No," said -:Vrthur Clennam. '* That is what I wish to have." 

" But I say. Look here ! Is this public business ? " asked Barnacle 
Junior. 

(Click! Eye-glass down again. Barnacle Junior in that state of 
search after it, that Mr. Clennam felt it useless to reply at present.) 

"Is it," said Barnacle Jimior, taking hoed of his visitor's brown 
i'ace, " anything about — Tonnage— or tliat sort of tiling ? " 

(Pausing for a reply, he opened his right eye with his hand, and stuck 
his glass in it, in that inflanunatory manner that his eye began watering 
(Ireadfidlv.) 

** No,' said Arthur, ** it is nothing about tonnage." 

" Then look here. Is it private business ? " 

'* I really am not sure. It relates to a Mr. Dorrit." 

** Look here, I tell you what! You had better call at our house, if 
you are going that way. Twenty-four, Mows Street, Grosvenor Square. 
My father's got a slight touch of the gout, and is kept at home by it." 

(The misguided young Barnacle evidently going blind on his eye- 
glass side, but ai«hamed to make any iurthor alteration in his painlul 
jirrangements.) 

** Thank you. I will call there now. Good morning." Young Barnacle 
^(•<*med diseomflted at this, as not ha^nng at idl expi'cted him to go. 

*' You are quite sure," said Barnacle Junior, calling after him when 
lie got to the door, im willing wholly to relinquish the bright bunness 
idea he had conceived ; ** that it's nothing about Tonnage ? " 



LITTLE DOILRIT. 79 

"Quite sure." 

With which assuranccy and rather wondering what might have 
taken place if it had been anything about tonnage, Mr. Clcnnam 
withdrew to pursue his inquiries. 

Motb Street, Grosvcnor Square, was not absolutely Grosvenor Square 
itse^/Earit was very near it. It was a hideous little street of dead wall, 
stibles, and dunghills, with lofts oyer coach-houses inhabited by coach- 
nun's &znilies, who had a passion for drying clothes, and decorating theii* 
window-sillB with miniature turnpike-gates. The principal chimney- 
sweep of that fashionable quarter lived at the blind end of Mews Street ; 
and the same comer contained an establishment much frequented about 
enly moming and twilight, for the purchase of wine-bottles and kitchen- 
staff. Punch's shows used to lean against the dead wall in Mews Street, 
while their proprietors were dining elsewhere; and the dogs of tho 
noghbourhood made appointmentsto meet in the same locality. Yetthero 
w e re t w o or three small airless houses at the entrance end of Mews Street, 
which went at enormous rents on account of their being abject hangers-on 
to a fashionable situation; and whenever one of these fearM little coops 
was to be let (which seldom happened, for they were in great request), 
^ house agent advertised it as a gentlemanly residence in the most 
aristocratic part of town, inhabited solely by the 61ite of the beau monde. 

If a gentlemanly residence coming strictly within this narrow mai^in, * 
bad not been essential to the blood of the Barnacles, this particular 
branch would have had a pretty wide selection among let us say ten 
thousand houses, offering fifty times the accommodation for a third of 
tbe money. As it was, Mr. Barnacle, finding his gentlemanly resi- 
dence extremely inconvenient and extremely dear, always laid it, as a 
public servant, at the door of the country, and adduced it as another 
instance of the Country's parsimony. 

.blhur Clennam came to a s(iu(»czcd house, witli a ramschacklo 
bowed front, little dingy windows, and a little dark area like a damj) 
▼aistcoat-pocket, which he found to be numbtT twenty-four. Mews 
Street, Grosvenor Square. To the sense of smell, the house was like a 
*<fft of bottle filled with a strong distillation of nicws ; and when tho 
footman opened the door, he seemed to txike the stopper out. 

The footman was to the Grosvenor S<[uare footmen, wliat the house 
^Ttt to the Grosvenor Square houses. Admirable in liis way, his way 
va8 a back and a bye way. His gorgoousness was not unmixed with 
•lirt; and both in complexion and consistcnc)', he had suffered from the 
closeness of his pantry. A sallow fiabbiness was upon liini, when ho 
*ook the stopper out, and presented the bottle to Mr. Clennam' s nose. 

" Be BO good as to give that card to Mr. Tite liamacle, and to say 
^ I have just now seen tho younger Mr. Barnacle who recommended 
»QAio call here." 

The footman (who had as many large buttons with the Barnacle crest 
*^pon them, on the flaps of his pockets, as if he wore the family strong box, 
•uid carried the plate and jewels about with him buttoned up) pondered 
liver the card a little; then said, " Walk in." It required some judgment 
^ do it without butting the innq;rhall door open, and in the consequent 
mental confusion and physical darkness slipping down the kitchen 
*'Pr«». The viritor, however, brought himself up safely on the <loor-ni{«t. 



80 Ll'lTLB DOBRIT. 

Btill the footman said '' Walk in/' so the visitor followed him. At 
the inner haU-door, another bottle seemed to be presented and another 
stopper taken out. This second yiul appeared to be filled with eon- 
centrated provisions, and extract of SiiuL from the pantry. After a 
skirmish in the narrow passage, occasioned by the footman's opening 
the door of the dismal dming-room with confidence, finding some one 
there with consternation, and backing on the visitor with disorder, the 
visitor was shut up, pending his announcement, in a close back parlor. 
There he had an opportunity of refreshing himself with both the bottlcn 
at once, looking out at a low blinding bock wall three feet off, and 
speculating on the number of Barnacle families within the bills of 
mortality who lived in such hutches of their own free flunkey choice. 
^ Mr. Barnacle would see him. Would he walk up-stairs ? He wonld, 
and he did ; and in the drawing-room, with his leg on a rest, he found Mr. 
Barnacle himself, the express image and presentment nf TTnur nnt f^ ^^ it 

Mr. Barnacle dated from a better time, when the country was not 
so parsimonious, and the Circumlocution Office was not so badgered. 
He wound and woimd folds of white cravat round his neck, as ho wound 
and wound folds of tape and paper round the neck of the countzy. 
HigjExifithands and^olLu:. were opprcssivip^ hia voice and inamier wcarc 
oppressive. Sc^had a *large watch-chain and buncE of seals, a coat 
TTiofffonedlip to inconvenience, a waistcoat buttoned up to inconvenience, 
un unwrinkled pair of trousers, a stiff pair of boots. He was altogether 
si)lendid, massive, overpowering, and impracticable. He seemed to hare 
been sitting for his portrait to Sir Thomas Lawrence oil the days of his life. 

** Mr. Clennam ?'* said Mr. Bumailo. " Be seated." 

Mr. Clennam became seated. 

" You have called on me, I believe," said ^Er. Barnacle, ** at the 
Circumlocution — " giving it the air of a wonl of about five and twenty 
svllablea, ** Office." 

** I have taken that liberty." 

Mr. Barnacle solemnly bent his head as who should say '^ I do not 
deny that it is a liberty ; proceed to take another liberty, and let me 
know your business." 

** Allow me to obsen-e that I have Ihh'U for some years in China, 
am quite a stranger at home, and have no iktsouuI motive or interest 
in the cnquir}* I am al)out to make." 

Mr. Barnacle tupped his fingers on the table, and, its if he were now 
sitting for his portrait to a new and strange artist, apiK^ared to say to 
liis visitor, ** If you will be good enough to take me with my x>rescnt 
lolty expression, I shall feel obliged." 

**I have found a debtor in the Mar8hal.**i»a prison of the name of Dorrit, 
who has been there many ytnirs. I WL**h to investigate his confused affairs, 
f») far as to ascertain whether it may not Ik.* possible, after this lai>8e of 
time, to ameliorate his unhai)py condition. The name of Mr. Tite 
Barnacle has been mentioned to me as rei)re9enting some highly 
inHuential inten'st among his cn'ditors. Am 1 correctly informi?d?" 

It being one of the principles of the Circumloiution Office never, on 
nny account whatever, to give a straightforward answer, ^£r. Barnacle 
Kiid. ** Possibly." 

*' On iK'half of the Crown, may I ask, or as a private individual?'' 



UTILE DOllUIT. SI 

" The Circumlocution Dopartmcut, 8ir," Air. Buniaclc rei)lied, "may 
have possibly recommended — ^possibly — I cannot say — that some public 
claim against the insolvent estate of a iimi or copartnership to Avhich 
this person may have belonged, should be enforced. The question may 
have been, in flic course of official business, referred to the Circumlocu- 
tion Department for its consideration. The department may liavo 
tithcr originated, or coniirmed, a Minute making that recommendation." 
"I assume this to be the case, then." 

"The Circumlocution Department," said Mr. Barnacle, "is not 
lesponsiblc for any gentleman's assumptions." 

" May I enquire how I can obtain official information as to the real 
5trte of the case ? " 

"It is competent," said Mr. Barnacle, " to any member of the — 
PoUiCy" mentioning that obscure body Avith reluctance, as liis natui'al 
i-MBiy,.- " to memorialise the Circumlocution Department. Such 
tiamiditics as are required to be obscn-od in so doing, may be knowni 
on application to the proper brancli of that Department." 
** Which is the proper branch ?" 

"I must refer you," retm-ned Mr. Bamaclo, ringing the bell, *•' to 
I the Department itself for a formal answer to that enquiry." 
''Excuse my mentioning — " 

"The Department is accessible to tlie — Publi*-." Mr. Ikmaclo^-^ 
TO always checked a little by that word of impcrtinc^nt signitica- r-sti » 
tion. " if the — Public approaches it according to the olficial forms ; 
^ the — Public docs not approach it according to the official Ibmis, 
th(^-Public has itself to blame. ' ' 

3ir. Barnacle made liim a severe bow, as a wounded man of family, 
a voonded man of plac(% and a wounded man of a gentlemanly rcsi- 
'Icncc, all rolled into one ; and he made !Mr. Barnacle a bow, and was 
j^hntout into Mews Street by the flabby footman. 

Having got to this pass, he resolved, tis an exercise in p(»rsevoranc(*, 
to betake himself again to the Circumlocution ()fh(;o, and tiy what satis- 
fitttion he could get there. So he w(»nt back to the Circumlocution Office, 
and once more sent up his card to Barnacle Junior by a messenger who 
took it very ill indeed that he should come back again, and who was 
noting mashed potatoes and gravy behind a partition by the hall fire. 

Ho was re-admitted to the presence of Barnacle Junior, and found 
that young gentleman singeing his knees now, and gaT)ing his wcarj- 
way on to four o'clock. 

** I say. Look here. You sti(?k to us in a devil of a manner," siiid 
licimaole Junior, looking over his shoulder. 
•' I want to know — " 

•• I..ook here. Upon my soul you mustn't come into the ])lace say- 
ing vou want to know, you know," remonstrated Baniacle Juniur, 
turning about and putting up the eye-glass. 

** I want to know," said Arthur Clennam, who had made up his 
znind to pcrsistemic in om? short form of words, *' the precise nature of 
the claim of the C*ro^Ti against a prisoner for debt named Donit." 

•' I «iy. Look here. You really are going it at a gi*eat pace, you - >-■' 
inow. £gad you haven't got an ai)pointment," said Barnacle Junior, 
ii-j if the thing were gro>^ing serious. 

o 



LITTLE DOBRIT. 

'* I want to know," wiid Arthui-. And n*pcatod his ca«*. 

}<arnaclc Junior sturcd at liim until Iur (*ye-gla5s fell out, and then 
lut it in again and Ktan^d at him until it fell out again. ** You have- 
10 right to come this sort of move.** ho then olwien-rd 'wiih the greBtest 
I'eakno^s. *' I^ook here. AMiat do jou moan ? You told me you 
'didn't know whothor it was puhlic businosB or not." 

** I havo now asccrtainod that it is public business," returned the 
suitor, *' and 1 want to know " — and again repeated his monotonous 
cnquir}-. 

Its ofi( rt upon young Hamaole was to make him repeat in a defenco- 
less way, ** Look hen* I Upon my soul you mustn't come into the 
]»laco, saying you want to know, you know!" ITio effect of that upon 
Arthur Clennam was to make him n*])cat his enquiry in exactly the 
same M'ords and tone as befon\ The effect of that upon yoiuig Buniaclo 
was to make him a wonderful sp(*ctacle of failunr and helplessness. 

** "NVell, I tell you what. Look hen*. You had better try the Secre- 
tarial Depai-tmcnt," he said at last, sidling to the bell and ringing it. 
•• Jenkinson," to Ihi' niaslicd potatoes mi»ssengiT, ** Mr. Wobbler! " 

Arthur Clcnnani, who now felt that he* had devoted himself to tbe 
storming of tlu* (*irr:umlo<aition OiKee, {ind must go through with it, 
aecompanird the messenger to another Hoor of the building, where that 
functional-}- pointed out Z^Ir. "Wobbler's room. He entered that apart- 
menty and found two g(.>ntlemen sitting face to faee at a large and easy 
desk, on(> of whom was ])olishing a gun-barrel on his ]KK'ket-handker- 
chief, while tlie other was spreading mamialadt* on bread with a 
])aper-kniri'. 

**Mr. AVol»])lir*:'" mipiired the suitor. 

Both gentI<Ti;iii glanr-ed at him, and seemeil suqirised at this asmr- 
anie. 

*' S»> he wi nt." ^i\'u\ the genth'uian with tlie gun-barrel, who was an 
extrenuly fl«lilH niti' si>eaker, ** down to his cousin's ]>laee, and took 
the Dog with him )»y i*ail. Inestimable Dog. Flew at the porter fellow 
when he wa< |nit into tlie dog-lK>x. and tiewat the guanl when he was 
taken out. He ^ot lialf-a-do/en fellows into a Ham, and a go(Kl supply 
of Hats, and xhivd tlir Dog. Finding the Dog abh* to do it immensely, 
nnide the niateli. antl heavily liaeked the Dog. AVhen the mutch eame 
off", some d«vil of a fillow was bought oAer, Sir. Dog was made drunk. 
l)t»g's ma<t<r was th-aned out." 

** Mr. Wnblijii?" (mpiired the suitor. 

The gtiithnian who was s]>reading tin- mannalade n'tunu-d, without 
looking w]) tnnn ihiit orcnpation, "AVhat did he call the Dogy" 

•* Called hi:;i i.ovily," said the othir g« nthmnn. ** Said the Dog 
was the ]M rft ( t pit t lire of the old aunt from whom he has exjiec tat ions. 
Found him ])artiiularly like her when hoeus'^i'd/' 

*'Mr. Wolibhr?" said the suitor. 

Koth gintli men laughed for sonu' tinu\ Thr gentlennin with tlu* 
gun-liarrel. f unsidiring it on ins]ieetion in a satisfai-tor}* state, nTerred 
it to the othrr: re<eiving eoniirmation of his viiws, he iitted it into 
its plac e in the rase lnfoi-e him, and took out the sto<'k and polished 
that, Hiftly whistling. 

"•■ aVoI.M, r ? " said the suitor. 



> *' 



LITTLE DORRIT. 83 

" What's the matter," then said Mr. Wobbler, with his mouth full. 

"I want to know ** and Arthur Clennam again mechanically set ^l>;>^'^ 

fbith what he wanted to know. 

"Can't inform jyou," observed Mr. Wobbler, apparently to his lunch. 
"Kever heard of it. Nothing at all to do with it. Bettor tr}- Mr. Clive, 
aeoond door on the left in the next passage." 

" Ffirh«p« be will give me the same answer." 

" Very fikely. Don't know anything about it," said Mr. Wobbler. 

The suitor turned away and had left the room, when the gentleman 
▼ith the gun called ouf Mister ! Hallo!" 

He looked in again. 

" Shat the door after you. You're letting in a devil of a draught here ! " 

A few steps brought him to the second door on the left in the next 
{■sstge. fui that room he found three gentlemen ; number one doing^ 
nothing particular, number tn^o doing nothing particular, number threc<^ 
doing nothing particular. They seemed, however, to be more directly con- 
eenied than the others had been in the effective execution of the groat 
principle of the office, as there was an awful inner apartment with a double 
dooTy in which the Circumlocution Sages appeared to be assembled in 
cooncil, and out of which there was an imposing coming of papers, and 
into which there was an imposing going of papers, almost constantly ; 
w^acein another gentleman, number four, was the active instrument. 
="" " I want to know," said Arthur Clennam, — and again stated his case 
in the samo barrel-organ way. As number on(> referrtKi him to number 
two, and as number two referred him to number three, he had occasion 
to state it three times befon* they all referred him to number four. To 
whom he stated it again. 

Number four was a vivacious, well-looking, well-di*essed, agreeable 
young fellow — ^he w^as a Barnacle, but on the more sprightiy side of the 
family — and he said in an easy way, **0h! you had better not bother 
yourself about it, I think." 

" Not bother myself about it ? " 

" No ! I recommend you not to bother yourst^lf about it." 

This was such a new point of view that Arthur Clennam found himself 
at a lo!« how to receive it. 

— ** You can if you like. I can give you plenty of forms to fill up. Lotf» 
■of 'em here. You can have a dozen, if you like. But you'll never go on 
with it," said number four. 

" Would it b(i_8uch hopeless work ? Excjupc me ; I am a stranger in 
Engknd." 

"/don't say it would be hopeless," returned number four, with ii \ 
fhmk smile. "I don't cxpr(«s an opinion about that; I only express 
an opinion about you. /don't think you'd go on with it. However, of 
course, you can do as jou like. I suppose th(»re was a failure in the 
performance of a contract, or something of that kind, was there?" 

" I really douH know." 

y Well ! That you can find out. Then you'll find out what Depart - 
ment the contract was in, and then you'll find out all about it there." 

"I beg your pardon. 'Bm ^^^^ -'- ^^ ^^^ ^ '' 
" Why, you'll — you'll asktill they tell you. Then you'll memorialisr 
tliat Department (according to regular forms which you'll fLnd ouV^ ^ot 



*i 



84 LITTLE DORKIT. 

■ 

leave to mcmoriolLso this Dcpartmcut. If you get it (which you may 
afu-r a time), thut memorial must be entered in that Department, Bcnt to 
be registered in this Department, sent back to be signed by that Depart- 
ment, sent back to be countersigned by this Department, and then it will 
begin to be regularly before tliat Department. You'll find out when the 
business passes through each of these stages, by asking at both Depart- 
ments till they tell you." 

,. '* But surely this is not the way to do the business," Aiihur Clennam 
Could not help saying. 

This airy young Barnacle was quite entertained by his simpl icity in 
supposing for a moment that it was. This light in hand young Barnacle 
knew perfectly that it was not. This touch and go young Barnacle hod 
'* got up " the Department in a private secrctarj'ship, that he might be 
ready for any littlo bit of fat that came to hand; and he fully understood 
-/ the Department to be a politico diplomatico liocus pocus piece of 
machincr}', for the assistance of the nobs in keeping off the snobs. ThTs 
dashing young Barnacle, in a word, was likely to become a statesman, and 
to make a figure. 

" When the business is rcgulaiiy before that Department, whatever it 
is," pursued this bright young Barnacle, " then you can watch it from 
time to time through that Department. AVlien it comes regularly before 
tliis Department, then you must watch it from time to time through this 
Department. We shall have to refer it right and left ; and when we refer 
it anj'^i'here, then you'll have to look it up. Wlien it <.omes back to na 
at any time, then you had better look «* up. When it sticks anywhere, 
you'll have to try to give it u jop:. When you write to another Department 
about it, and tlien to tliis iJopurtmont about it, and don't hear anything 
Hutisfactor}' about it, wliy then you liad better — kec]) on ^\Titiug." 

Arthur Clennam looked veiy doubtful indeed. ** But I am obliged to 
you, at any rate," said h(». ** tor your politeness." 

* * Not at all," replied tliis engaging younf]j Bamaclo. * * Trj- the thing, 
and see how you like it. It will be in your power to give it up at any 
time, if you don't like it. You had better take a lot of forms aAvay with 
you. (irive him a lot of forms I " With which instniction to number 
two, tliis sparkling young Barnacle took a fresh handful of papers from 
numbi'rs one and three, and carried them into the sanctuary, to offer 
to the presiding Idols of the Circumlocution Dfticc. 

Arthur Clennam put his forms in his pocket gloomily enough, and 
wint his way down the long stone passage; and the long stone staircase. 
l\v had come to the swing doors leading into the stivet, and was waiting, 
not over patiently, for two people who were between him and th(?m to pass 
out and let him follow, when the voice of one of them struck familiarly 
on his ear. He looked at the s}>eaker and recognist d Mr. 31eagles. Mr. 
^[eagles was ver}* rtd in the face — redder tliiui travel could have made 
liim — and collaring a short man who was with him, said, ** Come out, 
yon rascal, come out I " 

It was such an unexpected hearing, and it was also such an unexpected 
**i;^ht to scH? Mr. Meagles burst the swing-doors ojK'n, and emerge intu 
the street with the short man. who was of an unoffending appearance, 
that Clennam stoo<l still for the moment ex<'hanging looks of surprise 
with the porter. He followed, however, (|uickly ; and saw Mr. Mcniglcs 



LITTLE DOKSIT. 85 

^[oing down the street with his enemy at his side. He soon came ap 
^^th his old travelling companion, and touched him on the back. The 
c;holeric face which Mr. Meagles turned upon him smoothed when he saw 
^'ho it was, and he put out his friendly hand. 

" How are you !" said Mr. Meagles. *' How d'ye do! I have only 
just come over from abroad. I am glad to see you." 

" And I am rejoiced to see you." 

" Thank'ee. Thank'ee ! " 

" Mrs. Meagles and your daughter — V^ 

" Are as well as jwssible," said Mr. Meagles. " I only wish you had 

xome upon mc in a more prepossessing condition as to coolness." 

; ' Though it was anything but a hot day, Mr. ^ileagles was in a heated 

^'^ state that attracted the attention of the passers by; more particulaiiy 

v^ OS he leaned his back against a railing, took off his hat and cravat, 

and heartily rubbed his steaming head and face, and his reddened ears 

and neck, without the least regard for public opinion. 

" "Whew !" said Mr. Meagles, dressing again. " That's comfortable. 
3fow I am cooler." 

" You have been ruffled, Mr. !^^eagle8. "What is the matter?" 

** "Waitabit, and I'll tell you. Have you leisure for a turn in the Park?" 

" Ad much as you please." 

*' Come along, then. Ah ! you may well look at him." He happened 

to have turned his eyes towards the offender whom ^fr. Meagles had 

so angrily collared. " He's something to look at, that fellow is." 

.i He was not much to look at, either in point of size or in point of 

c dress ; being merely a short, scjuare, practiced looking man, whose hair 

^ had turned grey, and in whose face and forehead there were deep lines 

of cogitation, which looked as though they were car\'(?d in hard wood. 

He was dressed in decent black, a little rusty, and had the appearance 

of a sagacious master in some handicraft. He had a spectacle-case in 

his hand, which he turned over and over while lie was thus in 

question, with a certain free use of the thumb that is never seen but' 

in a hand accustomed to tools. -^ 

*' You keep with us," said Mr. Meagles, in a threatening kind of 
way, " and I'll introduce you presently. !N^ow, then !" 

Clennam wondered within himself, as they took the nearest way to 
the Park, what this imknown (who (romplied in the gentlest manner) 
could have been doing. His appearance did not at all justify the sus- 
picion that he had been detected in designs on Mi*. !M eagles' s pocket- 
handkerchief; nor had he any appearance of being quarrelsome or 
^ ^-iolent. He was a quiet, plain, steady man; made no attempt to 
escape; and seemed a little depressed, but neitlier ashamed nor repentant. 
If he were a criminal offender, he must surely be an incorrigible 
h}-pocrite ; and if he were no offender, why should !Mr. Meagles have 
collared him in the Circumlocution Office ? He perceived that the man 
was not a difficulty in his own mind alone, but in Mr. Meaglcs's too ; for 
such conversation as they had together on the short way to the Park 
was by no means well sustained, and Mr. Moagles's eye always wandered 
hack to the man, even when he spoke of something very different. 

At length, they being among the trees, Mr. Meagles stopped short, 
and said : 



I. 



86 LITTLE DOREIT. 

*'Mr. Clennamy will you do me the favour to look at this man? 
N His name is Doyce, Daniel Dyjye. You wouldn't suppose this man 
to be a notorious rascal ; would you ?'' 

'' I certainly should not/' It was really a disconcerting question, 
with the man there. 

" No. You would not. I know you would not. You wouldn't 
suppose him to be a public offender ; would you ?" 

" No." 

' ' No. But he is. He is a public offender. What has he been guilty of? 
Murder, manslaughter, arson, forgery, swindling, houBebreaking, high- 
way robbery, larceny, conspiracy, fraud ? Which should you say now?" 

« I should say," returned AHliur Clennam, obHcning a faint smile 
in Daniel Doyce's face, ** not one of them." 

r; " You are right," said Mr. Meagle«. ** But ho has been ingenious, 
land he has been trying to turn his ingenuity to his country's scrviee. 
^That makes him a public offender directly, 8ir." 

Arthur looked at the man himself, who only shook his head. 

** This Doyce," said Mr. Meagles, ** is a smith and engineer. He is 
not in a large way, but he is well known as a very ingenious man. A 
dozen years ago, he perfects an invention (involving a ver}' curious secret 
process) of great importance to his country and his fellow creatures, ''1 
won't say how much money it cost him, or how many years of bis life 
the had been about it, but he brought it to perfection a dozen years 
4igo. "Wasn't it a dozen?" said Mr. Meagles, addressing Doyce. "He 
is the most exasperating man in the world; he never complains !" 

" Yes. Rather better than twelve years ago." 

" Bather better ?" said Mr. Mi^les, ** you mean rather worse. Well, 
Mr. Clennam. He addresses himself to the Government. The moment 
he addresses himself to the Government, he becomes a public offender ! 
Sir," said Mr. Meagles, in danger of making liimself oxcwsively hot 
again, " he ceases to be an innocent citizen, luid becoims a culprit. He 
is treated, from that instant, as a man who lias done some infernal action. 
He is a man to bo shirked, put off, brow-beaten, sneeriKl at, handed over 
by this highly-connected young or old gc*ntleman to that highly-connected 
yoimg or old gentleman, and dodged back again ; he is a man with no 
rights inhis own time, or his omti iirojK^rty ; a men* outlaw, whom it is jus- 
tifiable to get rid of anyhow ; a man to be worn out by all possible means.'* 

It was not so difficidt to believe, after the morning's experience, as 
Mr. Meagles supposed. 

** Don't stand there, Doyce, turning your sp(»cta(le-cast^ over and 
over," cried Mr. Meagles, ** but tell Mr. Clennam what you confesHcd 
to me." 

**I undoubtedly was made to fet»l," siiid the inventor, ** as if I had 
committed an offence. In dancing attvndtmce at the various oflSces, I 
was always treated, more or less, as if it was a very bad offence. I have 
fnxjuently found it necessary to n»Hect, for ray own s<»lf-8Upport, 
that 1 really had not done? anything to bring myself into the 
Newgate Calendar, but only wante<l to effect a great sa^nng and a great 
improvement." 

**Ther(?!" said !Mr. Meagles. '* Judge whether 1 exaggerate! Xow 
you'll be able to Ixlieve me wlien I tell you the rest of tlie rase." 



urrLE DoaiUT. S7 

Unth this prdudCy Mr. Meagles went through the narrative; tlio 
«:>5tablishcd narrative, wliich has become tiresome ; the matter of courso 
narratiye which we allknow by heart. How, after interminable attcndauce 
suid correspondence, after infinite impertinences, ignorances, and insults, 
inj- loidii made a Minute, number three thousand four hundrtKl and 
seventy-two, allowing the culprit to make certain trials of his invention 
at hie own expense. How tiie trials were made in the presence of a 
^bpard of six, of whom two ancient members were too blind to sec it, 
[two other ancient members were too dc^ to hear it, one other ancient 
bnembcr was too lame to get near it, and the final ancient member was v 
jjofi pig-headed to look at it. How there were more years ; more iiii- 
pertmenccs, ignorances, and insults. How my lords then made a Minute, 
number five tiiousand one hundred and three, whereby they resigned 
tile business to the Circumlocution Office. How the Circumlocution 
Office, in course of time, took up the business as if it were a bran new 
thing of yesterday, which had never been heard of bc>fore ; muddled 
the busiiieBS, addled the business, tossed the business in a wet blanket. 
How the impertinences, ignorances, and insults went through the mul- 
tiplication table. How there was a referejice of the invention to tiut^e 
Baniacles and a Stilt8talking,who knew nothing about it ; into whoso 
heads nothing could be hammered about it ; who got borcrd about it, and 
reported physical impossibilities about it. How the Circumlocution 
Office, in a Minute, number eight thousand seven hundred and forty, 
" saw no reason to reverse the decision at wliicli my lords had arrived." 
How the Circumlocution Office, being ix*mindod that my lords had 
arrived at no decision, shelved the business. How there had bec*n a 
final interview with the head of the Circumlocution Office that very 
morning, and how the Brazen Head had sjwken, and had been, ujwn 
the whole, and under all the circumstances, and looking at it from the 
various points of ww, of opinion that one of two comsi's was to be 
pursued in respect of tlie business : that was to siiy, either to leave it 
alone for evermore, or to begin it all over again. 

'*X7pon which," said Mr. Meagles, "as a i>nictical man, I then and 
there, in that presence, took Doyce by the collar, and told him it was 
plain to me that he was an infamous rascal, nnd treasonable disturlxT 
of the ggYPnWBlf"^ peace, and took him away. 1 brought him out at 
the office door by the collar, that the verj- porter mipjht know 1 was u 
practical man who appreciated the official (estimate of such characters; 
and here Ave are I " 

If that airy young Barnacle had lK*t?n there, he would liave firankly 
told them perhaps that the Circumlocution Office liad achieved its 
functions. That what, the ^Barnacles had to do, was to stick on to the. 
national ship as long, as they. could. That to trim the ship, lighten the 
slSip, clean t!be ship, would be to knock tliem oft'; that they could but- 
be knocked off once ; and that if the ship went down ^vith them yet 
sticking to it, that was the ship^s look out, and not theirs. 

"There!" said Mr. Meagles, *'now you know all about Doyce. 
Ezcc'pt, which I own does not imx^rove my state of mind, that even now 
Tou don't hear him complain.'' 

"You must have great patience," said Arthur Clennani, looking at 
liim with some wonder, ** gn^at forbearance." 



88 LITTLE DOEIllT. 

'*Xo,** lie returned, **I don't know that I have more than another 
man." 

"By the Lord you have more than I have thoup:h ! " cried Mr. Meagles. 
Doycc smiled, aa he said toClennam, *' You see, my experience of thesL* 
tilings does not hegin ydih myself. It has been in my way to know a 
little about them, ti'om time to time. Mine is not a particular case. I 
am not worse used than a hundred othew, who have put themselves in 
the same position — ^than all the others, I was going to say." 

** 1 don't know that I should find that a consolation, if it were mj* 
ease ; but I am very glad that you do." 

"Understand me ! I don't say," he replied in his steady, planning 
way, and looking into the distance before him as if his grey eye wen* 
.measuring it, "that it's recom^wnse for a man's toil and hope ; but it's a 
certain sort of relief to know that I might liave counted on this." 

He spoke in that quiet deliberate manner, and in that undertone, which 

is often obsen'ablc in mechanics who consider and adjust with great 

nicety. It belonged to liim like his suppleness of thumb, or his peculiar 

way of tilting up his hat at the back everj* now and then, as if he wen* 

contemplating some half-iinished work of liis hand, and thinking about it. 

"Disappointed?" he went on, as he walked between them under the 

2; tix'cs. "Yes. Xo doubt I am disappointed. Hurt? Yes. No doubt 

. "'^ I am hurt. Tliat's only natui-al. iut what I mean, when I say that 

^ people who put themselves in the same position, are mostly used in the 

same way — ' 

" In England," said ^£r. Moagles. 

" Oh I of course I mean in Knghind. AMien they take their inven- 
tions into foreign countries, tliat's quite different. And that's the 
reason whv so nianv go there.'' 

^Fr. Meagles verj' hot iudw^ again. 

" Wliat I Tuc»an is, that however this comes to be the regular waj- of 
our government, it is its regular way. Have you ever heard of any 
projector or inventor who failed to find it all but inaccessible, and 
whom it did not discourage and illtreat?" 
" I cannot sav that I ever have." 

" Have you ever kno>\'n it to be iK'forelmnd in the adoption of any 
useful thing? Ever known it to set an example of any useful kind ?" 
" I am a good deal older than my friend here," said Mr. Meagles, 
" and I'll answer that. Xever." 

" lint we all threr have known, I cx])ect.'' said the inventor, " a 
jnvtty many cases of its fixed determination to lie miles uixm miles, and 
yeai-s uikiu years, behind the rest of us; and of its being found out piT- 
sisting in the use of things huig supersiiled, even after the belter thing-* 
wen' well known and generally taken up ? " 
They all agrcHKl upcm that. 

" Well then," said l)oyc(? with a sigh, " as I know what sueh a metal 
will do at su<h a temperature, and such a body under sueh a pressure, 
so I mayknowi^if 1 willonly eonsi<lerj, how these gieathaxls and gentlemen 
will eertainlv deal with sueh a matter as mine. I have no right to be 
surprised, \vii\\ a h<*ad upon ray sIiouIcUts, and inemori* in it, that 1 
tall into the ranks \nth all who came before me. I ought to have let 
it al'Mw. I have had warning enough, 1 am sure.'' 



LITILE DORRIT. 8l> 

'With that he put up his spectacle-case, and said to Arthur, '* If I 
dou't complain, Mr. Clcnnam, I can feel gratitude ; and I assure you 
that I feel it towards 'our mutual friend. * Many's the day, and many's 
the iray, in which he has backed me." 
*' Staff and nonsense/* said Mr. Meaglcs. 

Arthur could not but glance at Daniel Doyce in the ensuing silence. 
Though it was evidently in the grain of his character, and of his 
respect for his own case, that he should abstain from idle murmuring, 
jticu evident that hie had grown the older, the sterner, and the poorer 
tSiMs long endearor. He could not but think what a blessed thing 
it would havo been for this man, if he had taken a lesson from the 
gentlemen who were so kind as to take the nation's affairs in charge, 
and had learnt, How not to do it.. 

llr. Meagles was hot and despondent for about five minutes, and 
te b^an to cool and clear up. 

"Come, come ! " said he, " "We shall not make this the better by 
l)eing grim. Where do you think of going, Dan?'* 
"I shall go back to the IjMjtqry," said Dan. 

"Why then, we'll all go back to the factory, or walk in that direc- 
tion," returned Meagles cheerfully. ** Mr. Clennam won't be deterred 
by its being in Bleeding Heart Yard." 
"Bleeding Heart Yard?" said Clennam. *' I want to go there." 
"80 much the better," cried Mr. Meagles. " Come along ! " 
As they went along, certainly one of the party, and probably more 
than one, thought that Bleeding Heart Yard was no inappropriate 
destination for a man who had been in official correspondence ^dth mi- 
lords and the Barnacles — and perhaps had a misgi-vang also that Britannia 
htT3elf might come to look for lodgings in Bleeding Heart Yard, some 
ugly day or other, if she over-did the Circumlocution OfHce 



CHAPTER XI. 

LET LOOSE. 

A UTE, dull autumn night, was closing in upon the river Saoni. 
Ine Btrcam, like a sullied looking-glass in a gloomy place, retlectod 
tne clouds heavily ; and the low banks leaned over licrc iind there, as if 
t"f y vere half curious, and half afraid, to sec their darkening pictures 
j^ the water. The flat expanse of country about Chalons lay a long 
"^^^y streak, occasionally made a little ragged by a row of poplar 
trets, against the WTathful sunset. On the banks of the river Saone it 
wai» ^et, depressing, solitaiy ; and the night deepened fast. 



i 



^ue man, slowly moving on towards Chalons, was the only visible 



5?!^' m the landscape. Cain might have looked as lonely and avoided. 
Jth an old sheepskin knapsack at his back, and a rough, imbarked stick 
fJJ\*^ut of some wood in his hand ; miiy, footsore, his shoes and gaiters 
^^P^^en. out, his hair and beard untrimmed ; the cloak he carried over 
™* shoulder, and the clothes he wore, soddened with wet ; linipinj; 
^^o in pain and difficulty ; he looked as if the clouds were hurrj-iu^ 



90 LITTUB DOaUT. 

from him, as if the wail of the wind and the shuddering of the grass 
were directed against him, as if the low mysterious plaahing of the 
water murmured at him, as if the fitful autiimn night were disturbed 
by him. 

Ho glanced here, and he gknced there, sullenly but shrinkingly; 
and sometimes stopped and turned about, and looked all round ham. 
Then he limped on again, toiling and muttering : 

'' To the devil with this plain that has no end ! To the devil with 
these stones that cut like knives ! To the dc\il with this dismal 
darkness, wrapping itself about one with a chill ! I hato you ! " 

And he would have visited his hatred upon it all with the scowl he 
threw about him, if he could. He trudged a little further ; and looking 
into the distance before him, stopped again. 

'* I, hungry, thirsty, weary. You, imbeciles, where the lights are 
yonder, eating and drinking, and warming yourselves at fires ! I wish 
I had the sacking of your town, I would repay you, my children ! " 

But the teeth he set ut the town, and the luuid he shook at the town, 
brought the to\i'n no nearer; and the man was yet hungrier, and 
thirstier, and wearier, when his feet were on its jagged pavement, and 
he stood looking about him. 

There was the hotel with its gateway, and its savory smell of 
cooking ; there was the cafe, with its bright windows, and its rattling 
of dominoes ; there was the dyer's, with its strips of red cloth 
on the doorposts ; there was the silversmitli's, with its ear-rings, and 
its offerings for oltars ; there was the tobacco dealer's, with its lively 
group of soldier customers coming out pipe in mouth ; there were the 
bad odors of the town, und the rain and refuse in tlie kennels, and the 
faint lamps slung across the road, and the huge Diligence, and its 
mountain of luggage, and its six grey horsci^ ^nth their tails tied up, 
getting under weigh at the coach office. But no small cabaret for a 
straitened traveller being within sight, he liad to seek one round the dark 
comer, where the cabbage leiives lay thickest, trodden about the public 
tistc^m at which Avomen liad not yet let^ off drawing water. There, in 
the back street he found one, the Break of Da}'. The curtained win- 
dows clouded tlie Break of Day, but it seemed light and warm, and it 
announced in legihU- inscriptions, with ai)propriate pictorial embellish- 
ment of l)illiard cue and hall, that at the Break of Day one could play 
billiards; that there one could find meat, drink, and lodging, whether 
one came on horseback, or came on foot ; and that it kept good wines, 
liqueurs, and brandy. The man turned the handle of the Break of 
Day door, and limped in. 

He touched his discolored slouched hat, as he came in at the door, 
to a few men who occuj)ied the room. Two were playing dominoes 
at one of the little tables ; three or four were seated round the stove, 
conversing as they smoked ; the hillijird-table in the centre was left alone 
for tlie time ; the landladv of the Daybnak sat ])ehind her little counter 
amf>ng her cloudy l>ottles of syrups, ba>*kets of cukes, and leaden. 
<lrainiigc for gLisses, working at her ntrdle. 

Midcing his way to an empty littk' table, in a comer of the room behind. 
the stove, he put do>\Ti liis knaj)s;ick and his cloak upon the groimd. As h9 
raised his head from stooping to do so, he found tlie landlady beside hinu 
* One can lo<lgc here to-night, niadaine?" 



LITTLE DOREIT. 01 

"Perfectly!" said the landlady, in a high, tdng-sonp:, chceiy voice. 
" Good. One can duio — sup — ^what you please to call it ? " 
"Ah, perfectly !" cried the landlady as before. 

I' Dispatch then, madame, if you please. Something to eat, us 
qnicklj- as you can ; and some ^\ane at onw., I lun exhaiistcd." 

"It is very bad -vreather, monsieur/' said the landlady. 

"Cuned weather." 

"And a very long road." 

"Acoraedroad." 

HiB hoarse voice failed him, and he rested Ids hi^ad upon his hands 
vsSl a bottle of Avinc was brought from tho counter. Havmg filled 
tad emptiod his little tumbler twice, and having broken off an end 
from the great loaf that was set before him with his cloth and napkin, 
wnp-plate, salt, x)epper, and oil. he rested his back against the comer 
of tLe wall, made a couch of the bench on which he sat, and lK^;an to 
dufw crust until such time as his repa.st sliould be ready. 

Iliere had been that momentary interruption of the talk about the 
store, and that temporary inattention to and distniction from one 
ttoiher, which is usually insepiiniblc in such a <'ompuny frt>m the 
wivil of a stranger. It had passed over by this time ; and the men 
bad done glancing at him, and were talking agaiu. 

" Hut's the true reason," said one of them, bringing a story he had 
W telling, to a close, '* that's the true reason why they said that tlie 
Wl was let loose." Tho npeaker was the tall Swiss belonging to 
the charch, and he brouglit 6om(*thing of the authority of tlic chureh 
urt» the discussion— especially as the dc\'il was in (juestion. 

The landlady, having given her directions for the new guest's enter- 
twiiwnt to her husband, who acted as cook to llie Break of Day, had 
'Mumed her needlework behind hcT counter. She was a smart, neat, 
Wght little woman, with a good deal of cap and a good deal of 
stocking, and she struck into the conviTSiition ^nth pi?veral laughing 
^ of her head, but >\-ithout Iwiking up from her work. 

"Ah Heaven, then!" said she. "A\licn the l)oat came up from 
^yons, and brought the ncjws that th(! devil was actually let loos<' iit 
Swseilles, some fly-catchers swallowed it. lUit IV Xo, not I." 

"3Cadame, you are always right," returned the tall Swiss. ** Doubt- 
'^you were enraged against that man, Madame?" 

"Ah, yes, then!" cried the landlady, raising her eyes from her 
^wk, opening them very -w-ide, and tossing her head on one side. 
"Xitondly, yes." 

"He was a bad subject." 

"Ho was a wicked wretch," said Uie landlady, ** tuid well merited 
^hat he had the good fortune to escape. So much the worse." 

"Stay, madame ! Let us see," returned tlie Swiss, argumentatively 
^^"'ning hw cigar bctwti^ his lips. *' It may have been his unfortimato 
*^'«tinv. He may have been the cliild of circunistanees. It is always 
Jowibli, that he had, and has, good in him if one did but know how to 
™ it out. Philosopliical phihinthro]»y teachi's — '' 

^ rest of the little knot aliout the stovi; murniuixKl an objection lo 
^ introduction of tliat threatc?ning ex])res.sion. Even the two player«5 
at doainoeB glanced up from their game, as if to ])rot<st agidnst philo- 
*pfcical philanthropy being brought by name into the Break of Day. 



02 UTTLE DORRIT. 

" Hold there, you and your philanthropy/' cried the smiling londl 
nodding her head more than ever. ** Listen then. I am a womti 
I know nothing of philosophical philanthropy. But I know wh 
have seen, and what I have looked in the face, in this world h 
where I find mj-self. And I tell you this, my friend, that there 
people (men and women both, unfortunately) who have no go« 
them — ^none. That there are people whom it is necessary to di 
'without compromise. That there are people who must be ^ 
with as enemies of the human race. That there are people who 1 
no human heart, and who must be crushed like savage be 
and cleared out of the way. They are but few, I hope ; but 1 1 
seen (in this world hero where I find myself, and even at the I 
Break of Bay) that there are such people. And I do not doubt that 
man — ^whatever they caU him, I forget his namo^is one of them.' 

The landlady's lively speech was received with greater favor at 
Break of Day, than it would have elicited fix>m certain amiable wl 
washers of the class she so unreasonably objected to, nearer Great Bril 

** My faith ! If your philosophical philanthropy," said the landL 
putting down her work, and rising to take the stranger's soup i 
her husband, who appeared with it at a side door, ** puts anybod 
the mercy of such people by holding terms ^Wth them at all, in w 
or deeds, or both, take it away from the Break of Day, for it : 
worth a sou." 

As she placed the soup before the guest, who changed his atti' 
to a sitting one, he looked her full in the face, and his moustache i 
up under his nose, and his nose came do'wn over his moustache. 

**AVell!" said the previous speaker, ** let lis come back to 
subject. Leaving all that aside, gentlemen, it was because the 
was ac(iuitted on his triid, that people said at Marseilles that the c 
was let loose. That was how the phrase; began to circulate, and i; 
it meant ; nothing more." 

** How do thev call him ?" said the landladv. ** Biniud, is it nt 

** Kigaud, Madame," returned the tall Swiss. 

"Rigaud! To be sure!" 

The traveller's soup was succeeded by a dish of meat, and that 
dish of vegetables. He ate all that was placed before him, era} 
his bottle of wine, called for a glass of rum, and sraokinl his eiga 
with his cup of coffee. As he became refreshed, he became overbear 
and patronised the company at the Daybreak in certain smidl tali 
which he assisted, as if his condition were far above liis appearanc 

The company might have had other engagements, or they might 1 
felt their inferiority, but in any ease they dispersed by degrees, and 
being replaced by other company, left their new patron in possessic 
the Break of Day. The landlord Avas clinking about in his kite! 
the landlady was quiet at her work ; and the refreshed travellei 
smoking by the stove, warming his ragged feet. 

** Pardon me, madame — that Biraud." 

** lligaud, monsieur." 

" lligaud. Pardon me again — has contracted your displeasurt*, ho 

The landlady, who hacfbeen at one moment thinking within he 
that this was a handsome man, at another moment that this wj 
ill-looking man, observed the nose coming down and the mousi 



UTTLE JX>IIEIT. O-') 

goiii^ np, and strongly inclined to the latter decision. Eigaud was 
a criminal, she said, who had killed his ^^ife. 

"Aye, aye ? Death of my life, that's a criminal indeed. But how 
doyoutnowit?" 

"All the world knows it." 

" Hah ! And yet he escaped justice ? * ' 

" Monsienr, the law could not prove it against him to its satisfaction. 
So the law says. Nevertheless, all the world knows he did it. The 
people knew it so well, that they tried to tear him to pieces." 

" Being all in perfect accord with their own wives ? " said the guest. 
"flAa!" 

The landlady of the Break of Day looked at him again, and felt almost 
confitmed in her last decision. He had a fine hand though, and he 
tamed it with a great show. She began once more to think that he 
waa not ill-looking after all. 

" Did you mention, Madame — or was it mentioned among the gentle- 
men— what became of him ? " 

The landlady shook her head ; it being the first conversational stage 
at which her vivacious earnestness had ceased to nod it, keeping time 
to what she said. It had been mentioned at the Daybreak, she 
nnaiked, on the authority of the journals, that he hud been kept in 
pn«m for his own safety. However that might be, he had escaped 
^ deserts, so much the worse. 

The guest sat looking at her as he smoked out his final cigarette, and 
w she sat with her head bent over her work, with an expression that 
might have resolved her doubts, and brought her to a lasting conclusion 
^ the subject of his good or bad looks if she had seen it. When she 
did look up, the expression was not there. The hand was smootliing 
^ shaggy moustache. 

"May one ask to be shown to bed, madame ? " 

Veiy willingly, monsieur. Hola, my liusbjuidl My husband would 
conduct him up-stairs. There was one traveller there, asleep, who had 
R^oe to bed vcrj- early indeed, being ovei7)owered by fatigue ; but it 
^*M a large chamber with two beds in it, and space enough for twenty. 
This the landlady of the Break of Day chirpingly explained, calling- 
■^^^ween whiles, Hola, my husband I out at the side door. 
.% husband answered at lengtli, ** Itis I, my wife ! " and presenting;: 
"Unself in his cook's cap, lighted the traveller up a st(jep and na^ro^\" 
'staircase ; the traveller carrying his own cloak and knapsack, and bidding 
^he landlady good night with a complimentarj- reference to the pleasure 
ot si'cing her again to-moiTow. It was a large ixjoin, ^vith a rough 
"pliatcry floor, nnplastered rafters overhead, and two bedsteads on opjx)- 
'^^ sides. Here my husband putdo^vn the candle he ciuried, and with 
Ji sidelong look at liis guest stooping over his knapsack, grufHy gave him 
}^ instruction, " The bed to the right ! " and left liim to his repose. 
*"€ landlord, whether he was a good or a bad physiognomist, had fully 
^de up his mind that the guest was an ill-looking fellow. 

^e guest looked contemptuously at the clean coarse bedding pro- 
^f^ for him, and, sitting down on the i-ush chair at the bedside, drew 
^ money out of his pocket, and told it over in his hand. '* One must 
J*^/* he 'muttered to himself, ** but. by Heaven I must eat at the cost 
^Wmc other man to-morrow ! " 



94 LITTLE DORBIT. 

As he sat pondering, and mechanically wei^iing his money in his 
palm, the deep breathing of the traveller in the other hed fell so reg:a- 
larly npon his hearing that it attracted his eyes in that direction. The 
man was covered np warm, and had dran^-n the white enrtain at his 
head, so that he could be only heard, not seen. But the deep regular 
breathing, still going on while the other was taking off his worn sihoes 
and gaiters, and still continuing when he had laid aside his coat and 
cravat, became at length a strong provocative to curiosity, and incen- 
tive to get a glimpse of the sleeper's face. 

The waking traveller, therefore, stole a little nearer, and yet a little 
nearer, and a little nearer, to the sleeping traveller's bed, until he stood 
close beside it. Even then he coidd not sec his face, for he had drawn 
the sheet over it. The regular breathing still continuing, he put hu 
smooth white hand (such a treacherous hand it looked, as it went creep- 
ing from him I) to the sheet, and gently lifted it away. 

"Death of my soul ! " he whispered, falling back, ** here's Cavalletto! " 

Tlio little Italian, j>roviously influenced in his sleep perhaps by lihe 
stealthy presence at his bedside, stopped in his regular breathing, and 
with a long deep respiration opened his eyes. At first they were not 
awake, though open. He lay for some seconds looking placidly at his 
old prison companion, and then, all at once, with a cry of sorprise and 
alarm, spnmg out of bed. 

*' Hush I ^^^lat's the matter I Keep quiet I It's I. You know me ?" 
cried the other, in a suppressiKl voic(\ 

liut John Baptist, widely staring, muttering a number of invocations 
and ejaculations, tremblingly backing into a comer, slipping on his 
trousers, and tying his coat by the two slet^ves round his neck, manifested 
an unmistakcablc dcsin* to escape by the door rather than renew the 
a<(iuaintanoe. Seeing this, his old prison comrade fell back upon the 
door, and set his shoulders against it. 

** Cavalletto I >Vake, boy! Hub your eyes and look at mc. Not the 
name you usi^d to call me — don't use that—Lagnier, say Lagnier ! " 

John Baptist, staring at him with eyes opened to their utmost width, 
made a number of those national, back-handed shakes of the light fore- 
finger in the air, as if he were resolved on negativing beforehand every- 
thing that the other could possibly advance, during the whole term of 
liis fife. 

" Cavalletto ! Give me your hand. You know Lagnier the gentle- 
man. Touch the hand of a gentleman ! " 

Submitting himself to the old tone of condescending authority, 
John Baptist, not at all steady on his legs as yet, advanced and put 
his hand in his patron's. Monsieur Lagnier laughed ; and having given 
it a squeeze, tossed it up and let it go. 

" Then you were — " faltered John Baptist. 

"Not shaved? No. See here!" cried Lagnier, giving his head 
t^snrl, " as tight on as your own." 

John Baptist, with a sliglit shiver, looked all round the room as i 
1o recall where he was. His patron took that opportunity of 
the key in the door, and then sat do\vn upon his bed. 

" Look I " he said, holding up his shoes and gaiters. " That's 
poor trim for a gentleman, you'll say. No matter, you shall see h^ 
fioon rU mend it. Come and sit down. Take your old place ! " 



LITTLE DORRIT. 95 

John Baptist, looking anything but re-assured, sat down on the floor 
at the bedside, keeping his eyes upon his patron all the time. 

** That's well!" cned Lagnier. "Now we might be in the old 
infenal hole again, hey ? How long have you been out ? " 

** Two days after you, my master." 

** How do you come here ? " 

" I was cautioned not to stay there, and so I left the town at once, 
«ad smce then I have changed about. I have been doing odds and 
«nd8 at Avignon, at Pont £sprit, at Lyons ; upon the Bhone, upon the 
fiwae." As he spoke, he rapidly mapped the places out with his 
mnbomt hand on &e floor. 

"And where are you going ? " 

"tSoing, my master ? " 

"Ayo!" 

John Baptist seemed to desire to evade the question without knowing 
how. "By Bacchus!" he said at last, as if he were forced to 
the admission, "I have sometimes had a thought of going, to Paris, 
and perhaps to England." 

" CavaUetto. This is in confidence. I also am going to Paris, and 
peiiiaps to England. We'll go together." 

The little man nodded his head, and showed his teeth ; and yet seemed 
not quite convinced that it was a surpassingly desirable arrangement. 

"We'll go together," repeated Lagnior. " You shall see how soon I 
win force myself to be recognised as a gentleman, and you shall profit 
hy it. Is it agreed ? Are we one ? " 

"Oh, surely, surely! " said the little man. 

"Then you shall hear before I sleep — and in six woitis, for I want 
deep — ^how I appear before vou, I, Lagnier. Eemembcr that. Not 
the other." 

" Altro, altro ! Xot Bi " Before? Jolm Baptist could finish the 

Dime, his comrade llad got his hand under his chin and fiercely shut 
Qp his mouth. 

" Beath ! what are you doing ? Do you want me to be trampled 
upon and stoned ? Do you want to be trampled upon and stoned ? 
You would be. You don't imagine that they would set upon me, and 
l<^ my prison chum go ? Don't think it! " 

There was an expression in his face as he released his grip of his friend's 
jaw, from which his friend inferred, that if the course of events reallv 
^?n>e to any stoning and trampling, Monsic^ur Lagnier would so dis- 
tmguiBii him i^th his notice as to ensure liis ha\"ing his full share of 
'^* He remembered what a cosmopolitan gentleman Monsieur Lagnier 
*a«, and how few weak distinctions he made. 

'* I am a man," said Monsieur I^agnier, ** whom society has deeply 
j"''^iiged since you last saw me. You know that I am sensitive and 
k ^^' and that it is my character to govern. How has societj' respected 
^noHc qualities in me ? I have been shrieked at through the streets. I 
^^^ been guarded through the streets against men, and especially 
^'^Huen^ running at me armed with any wea])ons they could lay theii- 
^fttl^B oa^ I have lain in prison for security, with the place of my eon- 
™*>i>ent kept a secret, lest I Ahould be torn out of it and felled by a 
"^Uxdred blows. I have been carted out of Marseilles in tlie dead of 



JJ(i I-ITTLl': DOKUIT. • 

iiijrlit, mul tamcil Kiiguis away I'nun it packid in straw. It has n^t 
l»c('ii sale lor mv to p) near my lioiist'; aiul, A\itli a bcfff^ar's pittance' in 
my iKK-kct, I have walked tlirouf^li vile mud and weather ever sinee, 
until my tW't an- cripiiled — IcMik at them ! Sueh uit the huiuiliuticms that 
society has inflicted upon me, possi'>>inf^ the qualities I have mentioned, 
and which you know me to iiossess. Hut stn-iety shall ])ay for it." 

All this he said in his com])anion*s ear, aud with hist hand before his 
lil)s. 

"Even here,'' he went (»n in the same way, **even in tliis mean 
drinkinp-shoj), wK'iety juisues nu*. Madame defames me, and her guests 
flet'ame me. I, too, a gentleman with manners and accomplishments to 
strike them dead ! Ihit the wrongs society has heajied upon mc arc 
tix*asur<'d in this bi-east." 

To all of which Jolm Bapti>t, listening attentivily to the suppreflSCfl 
hoai*se voice, said from time to time, ** Suii'ly, siuxly ! " tossdng his 
liead and shutting his eyes, as if theix* were the clearest case against 
Miciety that jpeHect cjuidor could make out. 

** I'ut my shws there/' continued Lagnier. '* Kang my doak to 
<ln- there hy the door. Take my Imt/' Hi? obeyed each inntmction, 
as it was given. ** And this is the bed to which society consigna me, is 
it? Hah. 7>;7/weli:" 

As he r^tretched out his length upon it, with a ragged handkeix^hxef 
Tiound round his wicked hend, and only his \ricked head showing above 
the bed-clothes, John Baptist was nither strongly reminded of what had 
so very nearly hai)pcned to jjrevent the moustache from any more goinj; 
i:p ::•* it did, and thi' nose from any nioiH' coming down as it did. 

" Shaken out of destiny's dice-box again into your com|)any, eh ? By 
ir« av( 11 1 So niudi the better tor you. You'll prolil by it. I shall need 
;i long rest. Let mc slec]) in tli<" morning.'* 

John Bajiti"^! re]ilii d that be si k mid slc< ]> as long as he would, anil 
wishing him ji happy niglit.imt out the candh-. One might liavesiipposol 
that the next proceeding of tin- Italian would have been foundress; but 
be (lid (xactly the rivcrse, and dressed himself from head to foot, saving 
bis shoes. When be bad sod'»nc. be lay down u])on hisl)ed with somtd 
«)f its ci»vering< over bim. and bi«i cniit Mill tied round bis neck, to geC 
tlmuigh the night. 

AVhcn he started u]), the (Jodfather Break of Day was iioejiing a'& 
It-* nimM'Siike. He rose, took hi-* shoes in his hand, turned the key in tho 
«l(j<ir with gnat caution, and m pi down-stairs. Nothing was astir then.* 
liut the smell id" ciilfcc. wine, tobacco, and syrups; and ^Iad:une's littler 
. <»nnter l(M»kcd ghastly <nnugh. Jiut he had jiaid Madame his little not «.* 
;.t ii <»ver night, and wanted to see uoIkkIv — wanted nothing buttogL't 
on bis shoes and his knapsuk, open the do(»r, and run away. 

lie prospered in bis ol»j<rt. No ni<»vement nr voice was heard when 
1m- u]icned the door; no wicked Ik ad tied up in a ragged handkerchief 
i*M>ked out of the u]iper windnw. When the snnhad raised his lull dis« 
:.bo\<' the flat line of the hori/on. and was striking iiiv out of the lon^ 
'uuddy vista of jiaved road with its weary avinue of little trees, a lilack 
' jK-ck moved along the nuid and s]>lashcd among the liamiug ]^K)olsof rain- 
water, whii b bbh ksp' ■ k w;- .b»bn liaiiti-.f Cavidb'tto nmning aArny ihji<i 
bis patron. 



CHAPTEE XII. ^ , 

BLEEDING HBAKT YAJU). ^\^^ ^ ^ 

Iv London itself, though in the old rustic road towards a suburb of 
note where in the days of William Shakespeare, author and stage- 
plajvTi there were Boyal hunting seats, howbcit no sport is left there 
now hat for hunters of men. Bleeding Heart Yard was to be found. A 
place much changed in feature and in fortune, yet with some relish of 
sncient greatness about it. Two or three mighty stacks of chimneys, 
and a few large dark rooms which had escaped being walled and sub- 
divided out of the recognition of their old proportions, gave the Yard a 
character. It was inhabited by poor people, who set up their rest 
aiaoiig its faded glories, as Arabs of the desert pitch their tents among 
^ fallen stones of the Pyramids ; but there was a family sentimental 
^^i^Uiig prevalent in the Yard, that it had a character. 

Aja if the aspiring city had become puffed up in the very ground on 
▼nioli it stood, the ground had so risen About Bleeding Heart Yard that 
y^ ^ got into it downrarfligHf of steps which formed no part of the 
^*"8ixial approach, and got out of it by a low gateway into a maze of 
™l>by streets, which went about and about, tortuously ascending to 
^ level again. At this end of the Yard and over the gateway, was/>-^/^ 
^^ fiotory of Daniel Doyce, often heavily beating like a blceding-hcartV' 

iS^f with the dink of metal upon metal. ' 

XHe opinion of the Yard was divided respecting the derivation of its 
°*^e. The more practical of its inmates abided by the tradition of a 
"^^I'der; the gentler and more imaginative inhabitants, including the 
TOole of the tender sex, were loytd to the legend of a young lady of 
^''''xo.er times closely imprisoned in her chamber by a cruel father for 
JsiUaining true to her own true love, and refusing to marry the suitor 
°^ chose for her. The legend related how that the young lady used 
^ l>e seen up at her window behind the bars, murmuring a love-lorn 
"^P^^ of which the burden was, " Bleeding Heart, Bleeding Heart, 
~'^tiing away," untQ she died. It was objected by the murderous party 
^^tr this Bemin was notoriously the invention of a tambour- worker, 
^^pinster and romantic, still lodging in the Yard. But, forasmuch as 
^ favorite legends must be associated with the affections, and as many 
?"^*^ people fell in love than commit murder — which it may be hoped, 
^?'^'«oevCT bad we are, will continue unto the end of the world to be the 
"PcDsation under which we shall live — the Bleeding Heart, Bleeding ^ 
^^^Hrt, bleeding away story, carried the day by a great majorit}-. 
pother party would listen to the antiquaries who delivered learned 
^|^*^turcg in the neighboiirhood, showing the Bleeding Heart to have 
fw^^ the heraldic cognizance of the old family to whom the property 
^^^^ once belonged. And, considering that the hour-glass they turned 

ffoia year to year was filled with the earthiest and coarsest sand, the 



H 



98 LITTLE DOKBIT. 

Bleeding Heart Yurdcrs had reason enough for objecting to bo despoiled 
of the one little golden gram of poetry that Bporkled in it. 

Down into the Yard, by way of the steps, came Daniel Doycei 
Mr. Meogles, and Clennam. Passing along the Yard, and between the 
open doors on eitlier hand, all abundantly garnished with light children 
nursing heavy ones, they arriTed at its opposite boundary, ti^c gateway. 
Here Arthur Clennam stopped to look about him for the domicile of 
[Tlbmish, plasterer: whose name, according to the custom of Londonere, 
I Daniel Doyce had never seen or heard of to tliat hour. 

^It was plain enough, nevertheless, as Little Dorrit had said ; over a 
lime-fiplashed gateway in the comer, within which Plomish kqpt a 
ladder and a barrel or two. The last house in Bleeding Heart Yard 
which she had described as his place of habitation, was a large house, let 
off to various tenants ; but Plomisli ingeniously hinted that he lived in 
the parlor, by means of a painted hand imder his name, the forefinger of 
which hand (on which the artist had dcmicted a ring and a most elabomte 
nail of the genteelest form), referred all enquirers to that apartment. 

Parting fh)m his companions, after arranging another meeting iritti 
Mr. Mcagles, Clennam went alone into the entiy, and knocked "with lus 
knuckles at tlie parlor-door. It was opened presently bv a woman wHli 
a child in her arms, whose unoccupied hand was hastily rc-amiigiiig 
the upper part of her dress. This was Mrs. Plomish, and this matonal 
action was the action of Mrs. Plomish during a large part of her waldng 
existence. 

"Was Mr. Plomish at home? "Well, sir," said Mrs. Plomiflh, a 
civil woman, **not to deceive you, he's gone to look for a job." 

Not to deceive? you, was a method of Kpeecjh with Mrs. PlomiiOi. 
Slu* would dt'Cfive you, undiT any circumstanci^, as little as might be; 
but slif had a trick of answcTing in this provisional form. 

** Do vou tliiiik he will be back soon, if I wait for him?" 

** I have Iktii exj)ecting him»" said Mrs. Plomish, **thi8 half-an- 
hour, at any ininutt^ of time. Walk in, sir." 

Arthur entered the rather dark and close parlor (though it was lofty 
too), and sat down in the chair she placed for him. 

**Not to deceive you, sir, I notice it," said Mi*s. Plomish, '* and I 
tiike it kind of vou." 

He was at a los^ to understand what she nicout ; juid by expressing 
as much in his l(M»ks, elicited her ex])laiiation. 

** It an't many that comes into a ])oor ])lar(\ that deems it worth their 
while to move their hats," sai<l Mrs. Plomish. **But people think 
more of it than ]K!ople think." 

Clennam returned, with an uncomfortable feelinp: in so verj" slight a 
courtesy Ix'in;;: unusual. Was that all I And stoopin;^ dt)wn to pinch 
the fheek of another young child who was sittinj; on the lloor, staring 
at him, a^ked Mrs. I'lomish how old that fine* bov wa** ? 

**Four vear ju'^t turned, sir," said Mrs. Plomish. ** He « a fine 
littK' fellow, an*t he, sir? But this one is rather sicklv." She tendorlv 
hushed the habv in lier amis, as she said it. '* You wouldn't mind 
my asking if it hapjient^l to be a job as you was come about, sir, 
wmld vou?" added Mrs. Plomish, wistfullv. 

She askcni it so anxiously, that if he had been in possession of any 



LITTLE BORRIT. 90 

kind of tenement, ho would have had it plastered a foot deep, rather 
than answer, No. But he was obliged to answer Xo ; and he saw a 
shade of disappointment on her face, us slio cheeked a ngh, and looked 
at the low fire. Then he saw, also, that Mrs. Plomish was a young 
woman, made somewhat slatternly in herself and her belongings by 
iwterty ; and so dragged at ^y poverty and the children togeOier, that 
their miited forces had already dragged her face into wrinkles. 

"All such things as jobs," said Mrs. Plomish, ** seems to me to have 
gone under ground, they do indeed." (Herein Mrs. Plomish limited 
her remark to the plastering trade, and spoke without reference to the 
Circumlocution Office and the Barnacle Family.) 

"Is it so difficult to get work ? " asked Arthur Clennam. /^ 

" Plomish finds it so," she retiunetl. "He is (iuitc xmfbrtunate, i^ 
HeaUy he is." ' 

Really he was. He was one of those many wayfarers on the road of 
life, who seem to be affiicted with supernatural corns, rendering it im- 
possible for them to keep up even with their lame competitors. A 
willing, working, soft-hc^ed, not hard-headed fellow, Plomish took 
hia fortune as smoothly as could be expected ; but it was a rough one. 
It 80 rarely happened that anybody seemed to want him, it was such 
in exceptional case when his powers were in any request, that his misty 
mind could not make out how it hapjiened. He took it as it came, 
tbwrfore ; he tumbled into all kinds of difficulties, and tumbled out of 
them; and, by tumbling throuj^h life, got himself considerably bruised. 
"It's not for want of looking after jobs, I am sure," said Mrs. 
Plonush, lifting up her eyebrows, and scardiing for a solution of the 
Foblcm between the bars of the gitUe; *' nor yet for want of working 
^t them, when they arc to be got. No one ever heiu-d my husband 
wmplain of work." 

Somehow or other, this was the general misfortune of Bleeding 
?<?art Yard. From time to time there were public complaints, 
Pathetically going about, of liilwr being scarce — which certain 
I*oplc seemed to take extraordinarily ill, as though they had an 
ahsolute right to it on their own terras — but Bleeding Heart Yard, 
thon^ as i^-illing a Yard as any in Britain, was never the letter for 
Xho demand. That high old family, the l^araack^s, had long been too 
'^^"V^ith their g^at princi[)le to look into tlui matter; and indeed 
the matter bad nothing to do with their watclifulness in out-generaling 
'•Bother high old families except the Stiltslalkings. 

^Hiile Mrs. Plomish spoke in these words ot* her absent lord, her 
W returned. A smof^th -cheeked, fresh-coloi-ed, sandy- whiskered man 
''^ thirty. I/>ng in the legs, yielding at the knees, foolish in the face, 
flanncl-jacketefl, lime-whitenwl. " Tliis is Plomish, sir." 

*'I came," said Clennam, rising, ** to beg the favor of a little con- 
versation with you, on the subject of the IJorrit family." 

Flomifih beeume suspicious. Seemed to scent a creditor. Said, " Ah, 
Yw. Well. He didn't know what satisfaction h^ could give any gentle- 
man respecting that family. What might it he about, now ? " 
"I know you better," said Clennam, smiling, *' thim you suy)pose." 
Plomish observed, not smiling in return. And yet he hadu't the 
pjcasnrc of being acquainted ^nth the gentleman, neither. 

n 2 



100 LTTTLE DORAIT. 

''No/' said Arthur, ''I know of your kind offices at seoond ha 
but on the best authority. Through Little Dorrit. — ^I mean,'* 
explained, ** Miss Dorrit. '^ 

•* Mr. Clcnnam, is it ? Oh ! I've heard of you, sir.*' 

** And I of you," said Arthur. 

'' Please to sit down again, sir, and consider yourself welcome 
Why, yes," said Plomish, taking a chair, and lifting the elder d 
upon his knee, that he might have the moral support of speaking 
stranger over his head, ** I have been on the wrong side of the 1 
mvself, and in that way we come to know Miss Dorrit. Me and 
wife, we are well acquainted with Miss Dorrit." 

** Ig..^mato ! " cried Mrs. Plomish. Indeed, she was egjKroudLof 
acquaintance, that she had awakened some bitterness of spirit in 
Y£u:d, by magnifying to an enormous amount the sum for whioh I 
Dorrit's father had become insolvent. The Bleeding Hearts reBCi 
her claiming to know people of such distinction. 

''It was her father that I got acquainted with first. And thro 
getting acquainted with him, you see — why — I got acquainted i 
her," said Plomish tautologically. 

"I see." 

" Ah ! And there's manners ! There's polish ! There's a gei 
man to have run to seed in the Marshalsca Jail ! Why, perbi^ 
are not aware," said Plomish, lowering his voice, and speaking wil 
perverse admiration of what he ought to have pitied or despisedi " 
aware that Miss Dorrit and her sister dursn't let him know that t 
work for a li\'ing. Ko!" said Plomish, looking with a ridicul 
triumph first at his wife, and then all round the room. " Dursn't 
him know it, they dursn't ! " 

"Without admiring him for that," Clennam quietly observed, 
am very sorry for him." The remark appeared to suggest to Plom 
for the first time, that it might not be a very fine trait of cham 
after all. He pondered about it for a moment, and gave it up. 

**As to me," he resumed, "certainly Mr. Dorrit is as affable ^ 
me, I am sure, as I can possibly expect. Considering the diffem 
and distances betwixt us, more so. But it's Miss Dorrit that we n 
speaking of." 

" True. Pray how did you introduce lier at my mother's ? " 

Mr. Plomish picked a bit of lime out of his whisker, put it betir 
his lips, turned it with his tongue like a sugar-plum, considei 
found himself une<iual to the task of lucid explanation, and appeal 
to his wife, said, "Sally, you may as m'cU mention how it was, 
woman." 

" Miss Dorrit," said Sally, hushing the baby from side to side, t 
laying her chin upon the little hand as it tried to disarrange the go 
again, " came here one afternoon with a bit of \*Titing, telling that \ 
(he wished for needlework, and asked if it would be considered any 
conweniencc in case she was to give her address here." (Plon 
repeated, her address here, in a low voice, as if he were making rcspoi 
at church.) "Me and Plomish says, No, Miss Dorrit, no ill-conwonien 
(Plomish repeated, no ill-con wenience,) " and she wrote it in, aoooid 
Which then me and Plomish says. Ho Miss Dorrit! " (Plomish repei 



UTTLE DORRIT. 101 

Ho lOss DoiTit.) " Have you thought of copying it three or four times, 

« 18 the way to make it known in more places than one ? No, says Miss 

J>)mt, I have not, but I T^-ill. She copied it out according, on this 

table, in a sweet writing, and Flomish, he took it where he worked, 

liaiing a job just then," (Plomish repeated, job just then,) **and likeways 

to the landlord of the Yard ; through which it was that Mrs. Clennam 

fxTst happened to employ Miss Dorrit." Plomish repeated, employ 

^AAias Dorrit ; and Mrs. Plomish ha^-ing come to an end, feigned to bite 

-fclie fingers of the Uttle hand as she kissed it. 

" The landlord of the Yard," said Arthur Clennam, '* is " 

"He is Mr. Casby, by name, he is," said Plomish, *'andPancks, he 
c^oUecte the rents. That," added Mr. Plomish, dwelling on the subject, 
^i?«rith a slow thoughtfulncss that appeared to have no connexion with any 
c object, and to lead him nowhere, *' that is about what thfy are, 
may believe me or not, as you think proper." 
"Ay?" returned Clennam, thoughtful in his turn. " Mr. Casby, 
» ! An old acquaintance of mine, long ago ! " 

Mr. Plomish did not see his road to any comment on this fact, and 
ade none. As there truly was no reason why he should have the least 
uxtercst in it, Arthur Clennam went on to the present., purport of his , 
^visit; namely, to moke Plomish the instrument of effecting Tip* 4 
T ^ekase, with as little detriment as possible to the self-reliance and self- 
^idpftilness of the young man, supposing him to possess any remnant 
[o£ those qualities: without doubt a verj' wide stretch of supposition. 
^Plonush, naving been made acquainted with the cause of action from 
the Defendant's own mouth, gave Arthur to understand that the 
Plaintiff was " a Chaunter " — meaning, not a singer of anthems, but a 
seller of horses — and that he (Plomish) considered that ten shillings in 
the pound "would settle handsome," and that more would be a waste 
of money. The Principal and instrument soon drove off together to a 
stable-yard in High Holbom, where a remarkably fine grey gelding, 
worth, at the lowest figure, seventy-five guineas (not taking into account 
the valac of the shot he had been made to swallow, for the improvement 
ri\ of bis form), was to be parted >nth for a twentj'-poimd note, in conse- 
quence of his ha\'ing run away last week with Mrs. Captain Barbar}- of 
Cheltenham, who wasn't up to a horse of his courage, and who, in mere 
T>itc, insisted on selling him for that ridiculous simi : or, in other words, 
on giving him away. Plomish, going up this yard alone and lea^nng 
lu« Principal outside, found a gentlciiiau with tight drab legs, a rather 
old hat, a little hooked stick, and a blue neckerchief (Captain Maroon 
of Gloucestershire, a private friend of Captain Baxbarj')l ^'^^ happened 
to bo there, in a firiendly way, to mention tliese little circumstances con- 
cerning the remarkably fine grey gelding, to any real judge of a horse 
and qnick snapper-up of a good thing, who might look in at that 
^^Ircis as i)er advertisement. This gentleman, happening also to be 
file PlBntiii ff I? tf'^- ^^ F c**^» referred Mr. Plomish to his solicitor, and 
"wlined to treat with Mr. Plomish, or even to endure his presence in 
the yard, unless he appeared there ^ntli a twenty-pound note: in which 



-I- 



■ ^ 




102 LITTLE OOmUT. 

back with the required credentials. Then said Captain Maroon, "Now^ 
hon: much, time do you want to moke up the other tTFMHty ^" ^ ISow, 
I'll give you a month." Then said Captain Maroon, when that 
wouldn't suit, ** l^ow, I'll tell what I'll do with you. You shall get 
me a good bill at four months, made payable at a banking-house, for 
the other twenty ! "^ Then said Captain Maroon, when thai wouldn't 
suit, " K'ow, come ! Here's the last I've got to say to you. You shall 
give me another ten doT\Ti, and I'll run my pen clean through it." Then 
said Captain Maroon, when that wouldn't suit, '*I^ow, I'll tell you what 
it is, and this shuts it up ; he has used mo bad, but I'll let hixa off for 
another five do^vn and a bottle of wine; and if you mean done. Bay done, 
and if you don't like it, lea ve it. " Pinall}' said Captain Maroon, whea 
that .wouldn't . suit eitherj^'iland over, then ! " — ^And in considera&A 
^fthe first offer, ggve a receipt in full and diacharyedl thanns one^ 

*' Mr. Plomifth," said Arthur, " I trust to you, if you pJ^ise, to keep 
my secret. If you will undertake to let the young man know that ha is 
firee, and to tell him that you were (employed to compoimd for the debt 
by some one whom you are not at liberty to name, you will not only do 
me a service, but may do him one, and his sister also." 

''The last reason, sir," said Flomish, ''would bo quite sofficdent. 
Ypur wishes shall be attended to." 

\ "A Friend has obtained his discharge, you can say if you please. A 
Friend who hopes that for his sister's sake, if for no one else's^ he will 
make good use of his Kbertj-." 

" Your wishes, sir, shall be attended to." 

" And if you 'vvill bo so good, in your better knowledge of the fionily, 
as to communicate freely Avith me, and to point out to me any meana by 
wliich you think I ma}- Ix? delicately and really useful to Little Doxxit, 
I shall feel under an obligation to you." 

'* Don't name it, sir," returned Plomisli, "it'll be ckally a pleasure 
and a — it'll be ekally a pleasure and a — ." Finding himself unable to 
balance his sentence after two efforts, Mr. Plomish -wisely droppod it 
He took Clennam's card, and appropriate pecuniary compliment. 

He was earnest to finish his commission at once, and liis Principal was 
in the same mind. So, liis Principal offered to set him down at the 
Marshalsea Gate, and they drove in that direction over Black&iarB 
Bridge. On the way, Artliur elicited from his new friend, a confused — 
summary of the interior life of Bleeding Heart Yard. They was all hard_i 
up there, Mr. Plomish said, unconmion liiu'd up, to-be-sure. Well, hcs^ 
couldn't say how it was ; he didn't know as anybody eouid say how it^ 
was ; all he know'd was, tliat so it was. Wlien a man felt, on. his own^ 
back and in his own belly, that he was poor, that man (Mr. Plo; 
gave it as his decided belief) know'd well that poor he was somehow 
anothcT, and you coiddn't talk it out of him, no more tlian you could 
B(*ef into him. Then you see, some peoj)le as was better off said, 
a good many such peo])le lived ])retty close up to the mark themselvci 
if not beyond it so he'd heerd» that they was '* improvident " (that 
the favourite word) down the Yard. For instance, if they see a nmn wii 
his wife and children goinj^ to Hampton Court in a AVan, 2)erhap8 on 
in a year, they says, *^ Hallo ! I thought you was poor, my impro\iden — 
friend ! " Why, Lord, how hard it was upon a man I What was a 




LITTLE DOB&IT. 103 

to do? He CGoldn't go mollancliolly mad, and even if ho did, you 
wouldn't be the better for it. In Mr. Flornieh's judgment, you would 
be the "worse for it. Yet you seemed to want to make a man moUanfihoUy 
nuuL Tou waB always at it— 4f not with your right hand, with your 
left. 'What was they a doing in the Yard ? AMiy, take a look at 'cm 
and see. There was the girls and their mothers a working at their 
sewing, or their shoe-binding, or their trimming, or their waistcoat 
loakLog, day and ni^^ and night and day, and not more than able to keep 
body and soul together after all — often not so much. There was people 
of pnetty well all sor ^of t rades you could name, all wantiag to work, and 
[et not aUaio gat it: jThere was old people, after working all their lives, 

rIp and being shut up in the Workhouse, much worse fed and lodged 
treated altogether, than — ^Mr. Plornish said manufacturers, but 
to mean malefactors. Why, a man didn't know where to turn 
lumadf^ fi>r a crumb of comfort. As to who was to blame for it, Mr. 
Ftoniiah didn't know who was to blame for it. Ho could tell you who 
mflferedy. but ho couldn't tell you whose fault it was. It wasn't his 
pTara {6 find out, and who'd mind what ho said, if he did iind out ? 
Ee onlr know'd that it wasn't put right by them what undertook that 
lino of tniaiaess, and that it didn't come right of itself. And in brief 
bis TJlin^t^ opinion was, that if you couldn't do nothing for him, you 
bad better take nothing from him for doing of it ; so fai* as he could 
make out, that was about what it come to. Thus, in a prolix, gently- 
growling, foolish way, did Plomish turn the tangliKl skein of his estate 
aboat and about, like, a blind man who was tr^-ing to find some begin- 
nix^ or end to it ; until they reached the prison gate. There, lie left 
his Frincipal alone ; to wonder, as he rode away, how many thousand 
Plonushes there might be within a day or two's journey of the Circum- 
locndoB Office, playing sundry curious variations on the same tune, 
which were not know^ by ear in tliat glorious institution. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PATBIABCHAL. 

Thb mention of Mr. Casby again revived, in Clcnnam*!* momor}', the 
fsnouldering embers of curiosity and interest which Mrs. Flintwinch 
had fanned on the night of his arrival. Flora Oasb y had >>e('U the beloved 
of YuA borhood ; and Flora was the daughter and only child of wooden- 
headcdtad Christopher (so he was still occasionally spoken of by somt^ 
irreverent spirits who had had dealings with him, and in whom ianii- 
liiirity had bred its proverbial result perhaps), who was n^putcd to 1k» 
rich in weekly tenants, and to get a good ipiuntity of blood out of the 
stones of several unpromising courts and alleys. 

.liter some days of enquiry and roscarcli, Arthur Clennam became 
convinced that the ca«e of the Father of the Marslialsea was indeed a 
ho|>olefl8 one, and sorrowftilly resigned the idea of helping him to froo- 
<iom again. He had no hopehil enquiry to make, at present, concerning 



\> 



104 LITTLE DOKRIT. 

Little Domt cither; but he argued with himself that it might, for any- 
thing he knew it might be serviceable to the poor cliild, if he renewed 
this acquaintance. It is hardly necessary to add, that beyond all doubt 
he would have presented himself at Mr. Casby*s door, if there had been 
no Little Dorrit in existence ; for we all know how we all deceive 
ourselves — that is to say, how people in general, our profounder selves 
excepted, dec<?ivc themselves — as to motives of action. 

AVith a comfortable impi'cssion upon him, and quite an honest one in 
its way, that he was still patronising Little Donit in doing what had 
no n'ferencc to her, he found himself one afternoon at the comer of 
Mr. Casby*s strwt. Mr. Casby lived in a street in the G ray's Tnii Boad, 
which had set off from that thoroughfare with the intention of running at 
one heat down into the valley, and up again to the top of FentonyiUo 
Hill ; but which had run itself out of breath in twenty yards, and had 
stood still ever since. There is no such place in that part now ; but it 
remained there for many years, looking with a baulked countcjionoc at 
the AvildeiiiesH patched with unfhiitful gardens and pimpled with 
eniptivc summer-houses, that it had meant to nm over in no time. 

** Tlie house," thought Clennam, as he crossed to the door, "is as little 
chimged as my mother* s, and looks almost as gloomy. But the likeness 
ends outside. I know its staid repose within. The smell of its jata of 
old rose-leaves and lavender seems to come u|>on me even hero." 

When his knock, at the bright brass knocker of obsolete shape, brought 
a woman-sen'ant to the door, those faded scents in tnith saluted him like 
wintry breath thut had a faint remembrance in it of the bygone upring: 
llestepiw'd into the soIht, silent, air-tight house — one might have fancied 
it to have been stilli'il bv Mutes in the Eastern manner — and the door, 
closing again, s(K'uied to shut out sound and motion. The furniture was 
fonnal, grave, and quaker-like, but well-kept ; and had as prepossessing 
iin aspect, as uny thing, from a human creature to a wooden stool, that is 
meant for mucli use and is preser\'ed for little, can ever wear. There was 
a grave clock, ticking somewhere up the staircase ; and there was a song- 
less bird in the Siime dirt^ction, jK'cking at his cage as if he were ticking 
too. The parlor-tin? ticked in the grate. There was only one person 
on the parlor-hearth, and the loud watch in his ])(>cket ticked audibly. 

The ser>-ant-maid had ticked the two words ** ^Fr. Clennam " so softly 
that she had not beenheanl; andheeonseciuently stood, within the door 
she had closed, unnoticed. The figure of a man advanced in life, 
whose smooth gi-ey eyebrows seemed to move to the ticking as the fire- 
lijijht rtickend on them, siit in an arm-chair, with his list shws on the 
rug, and his thumbs slowly n'volving over one another. ITiis wa* 
old Christopher Casby — recognisable at a glance — as unchanged in 
twenty j'cars and uj)wards, tus his own solid fumitui*e — as little touched 
by the influence of the varying seasons, as tlic old rusi'-lcaves and old 
lavender in his pon-elain jars. 

Perhaps there never was a man, in this troublesome world, so trouble- 
some for th*' imagination to pietuiv as a boy. And yet he had changeil 
vtry little in his progress through life. Confronting him, in the room in 
u'liich he siit, was a l)oy*s portrait, which anylM)dy seeing him would 
have identilied as Master Christoi)her Casby, aged ten : though disg;uiR(*d 
v.'ith a haymaking nike, for which he had had, at any time, as much 



LITTLK DORIUT. 105 

taste or use as for a diving-bcU ; and sitting (on ouo of his own logs) 
upon a bank of violets, moved to precocious contemplation hj the spire 
ef a village church. There was the same smooth face and forehead, the 
fame calm blue eye, the same placid air. The shining bald head, which 
looked BO very large because it shone so much ; and the long grey hair 
at its sides and back, like floss silk or spun glass, which looked so very 
benevolent because it was never cut ; were not, of course, to be seen in 
the boy as in the old man. Nevertheless, in the Seraphic creature with 
the haymaking rake, were clearly to be discerned the rudiments of the 
^g^dujch with the list shoes. 

fimSEbh was the name which many people delighted to give him. 
YarlSQrlnS Igdies in the neighbourhood spoke of him as The Last Of the , 
So grey, so slow, so quiet, so impassionate, so' vefy bumpy 
rCdbWcb was the word for him. He had been accosted in 
streets, and respectfully solicited to become a Patriarch for painters 
and for sculptors : with so much importunity, in sooth, that it would 
appear to be beyond the Fine Arts to remember the points of a Patriarch, 
or to invent one. Philanthropists of both sexes had asked who he was, 
and on being informed, '' Old Christopher Casby, formerly Town-agent 
to Lord Decimus Tite Barnacle,'' had cried in a rapture of disappointment, 
** Oh ! why, with that head, is he not a benefactor to his species ! Oh ! 
why, with that head, is he not a father to the orphan and a friend to 
tiie friendless ! " With that head, however, he remained old Christopher 
Casby, proclaimed by common report rich in house property ; and with 
that, head, he now sat in his silent parlor. Indeed it would be the 
height of unreason to expect him to be sitting there without that head. 

Arthur Clennam moved to atti-act his attention, and the grey eye- 
brows turned towards him. 

" I beg your pardon," said Clennam, " I fear you did not hear me 
unnounced?" 

** Xo, sir, I did not. Did you -wish to see mc, sir ? " 

" I wished to pay my respects." 

Mr. Casby seemed a feather's weight disappointed by the last wonls,. 
having perhaps prepared himself for the visitor's wishmg to pjiy some- 
thing else. " Have I the pleasure, sir," he proceeded — ** take a chair, 
if vou please — ^have I the pleasure of knowing — ? Ah ! truly, y(^s, I 
think I have ! I believe I am not mistaken in supposing that I am 
acquainted with those features? I think I address a gentleman of 
whose return to this countr}* I was informed by Mr. Flint winch? " 

" That is vour present visitor." 

"ReaUy!' Mr. Clennam?" 

" No other, Mr. Casby." 

" Mr. Clennam, I am glad to see you. How have you been since 
we met ? " 

Without thinking it worth while to explain that in the course of some 
qoarter of a century he had experienced occasional slight tiuctuations in 
his health and spirits, Clennam answered generally that he had never 
been better, or something equally to the purpose ; and shook hands with 
the possessor of '* that head," as it shed its patriarchal light upon him. 

" We are older, Mr. Clennam," said Christopher Casby. 

" We are — ^not younger," said Clennam. Alter this wise remark ho 



100 LITTLE DORRIT. 

felt that he ww Mareelv pliining with brilliancy, and became aware 
that ht wae^ ntrruvu^. 

" And TOUT retfpei'ted £ither/' said Mr. C35bY» " is no more ! I was 
griered to hear it, Mr. Clennam, I was grieved.'* 

Arthur implied in the iLsnal way that he felt infinitely obliged to him. 

** There was a time/' said Mr. Casby, ** when your parents and my- 
self wertr not on friendly terms. Thirre was a little iamilv misunder- 
standing among us. Your it-^-eted mother was rather j oalous of her son, 
miorlje ; when I say her son, I mean your worthy self, your worthy seUl" 

His Kmrx>th face had a bloom upon it, like ripe wall-fruit. What with 
his bh>oming face, and that head, and his blue eyes, he seemed to be 
delivering sentiments of rare wisdom and virtue. . In like manner, his 
physiognomical exprefssion M*cmcd to teem with benignity. Nobody 
rx>uld ha^x* said where the ^"isdom was, or where the virtue was, or where 
the benignity was ; but they all seemed to be somewhere about him. 

'' Those time's, however," pursued Mr. Casby, " are past and gone, 
past and gone. I do myself the pleasure of making a visit to your 
respected mother occasionally, and of nHmiring the fortitude and 
Htiength of mind with which she bears her trials, bears her trials" 

When he made one of these little repetitions, sitting with his hands 
crossed before him, he did it with his head on one side and a gentle smile, 
as if he hud sometbing in his thoughts too sweetly profound to be pnt 
into words. As if he denied himself the pleasure of uttering it» lest he 
Hhonld soar too high; and his meekness therefore preferred to be im- 
meaiiing. 

** L have heard that you wen* kind enough on one of those occasioiifl," 
"aid Arthur, catching at the opportunity as it drifted jwist him, ** to 
mention Little Dorrit to my mother." 

** Little — ? Dorrit? That's the seamstress who was mentioned 
to me bv a small tenant of mine? Yes, vcs. Dorrit? That*s the 
name. Ah, yes, yt«I You call her Little l)(»rrit?" 

No roml in that direction. Nothing cnme of the cross-cut. It led 
no further. 

'* My (laughter Flora," said Mr. ('ju*by, ** at* you may have heard 
jjrr»lmbly, Mr. Clenuam, was married and wtablit'hed in life, several 
years af;o. She had the misfortune to lose her liuslmnd when she had 
iMM-n married a few months. She resides with me again. She will b(* glad 
to HHt you, if you will ])erniit nw? to let her know that you are ht're." 

** Uy all means," ri'tiinied Cleimam. ** I should have preferred the 
nrjiust, if your kindness had not anticipated me." 

L'pon this, Mr. Casby rose up in his list sIkh^s, and with a slow, 
lieiivy Htep he was of an ele|»liantine huild\ made for the door, lie 
iiad a lonff wide-skirted bottle-jrreen coat on, and a bottle-green pair 
• d' tn>ws<rs, and a hottle-p'een waistcoat. The Patriarchs were not 
dn'SM'd in lM>ttle-jn*een l>roadcloth, and yet his clothes looked patriarchal. 

He had .si-areidy left tht? nnmi, and allow(*dthe ticking t«)lM'eome audible^ 
jigain, when a(|uick bund tuniini a latchkey in tlie hoa-^e-door, t»pentHl it* 
and shut it. Immediately aft<'rw:mls, a (juiek luid eager short durlc 
lunii came into the room with so much way u])on him, that he wa* 
within a UhA of ('icnnum before he coidd stop. 

**llidloa:" he said. 



LITTLE DOKRIT. 107 

denxram saw no reason wky he should not say *^ Halloa I " too. 
"What's the matter?" said the short dark man 
** 1 have not heard that anything is the matter/' returned Glonnam. 
" Where's Mr. Casby ? " asked the short dark man, looking about. 
''He will be here directly^ if you wont him." 
" / want him ? " said the short dark man. " Don't yon ? " 
This elicited a word or two of explanation from Clennam, during the 
ddivenr of which the short dark man held his breath and looked at 
hinu. be was dressed in black, and rusty iron grey ; had jet black beads 
of eves; a sorubby little black chin ; wiry black hair striking out from 
his head in prongs, like forks or hair-pins; and a complexion that wasn s 
veiT dingy by nature, or very dirty by art, or a compound of nature y 
and azt. He had diriy hands and dirty broken nails, and looked as if 
he had been in the coals ; he was in a perspiration, and snorted and 
aDofTed and puffed and blew, like a little laboring steam-engine. 

" Oh! " said he, when Arthur had told him how he came to be 
there. "Very well. That's right. H he should ask for Pancks, will 
yon be so good as to say that Pancks is come in? " And so, with a 
anort and a puff, he worked out by another door. 

Now, in. the old days at home, certain audacious doubts respecting the 

last of tiie Patriarchs, which were afloat in the air, had, by some forgotten 

iMitSj come in contact with Arthur's sonsorium. He was aware of 

aotea and specks of suspicion, in the atmosphere of that time ; seen 

throng which medium, Christopher Casby was a mere Inn signpost 

witliout any Inn — an invitation to rest and be thankful, when there i 

was no place to put up at, and nothing whatever to be thankful for. ' 

He knew that some of these specks even represented Christopher as 

capable of harboring designs in '' that head," and as being a^iafty 

Other motes there were which showed him ofi a heavy. 

Booby, who, having stumbled, in the coiixse of his 

imwieldy jostlings against other men, on the discovery that to get 

'through life ^ith ease and credit, he had but to hold his tongue, keep 

the bald part of his head weU polished, and leave his hair alone, had 

lud just cunning enough to seize the idea and stick to it. It was 

flttd that his being town-agent to Lord Decimus Tito Eamacle was 

^erable, not to his having the least business capacity', but to his 

l^wking so supremely benignant that nobody could suppose the property 

'^^'ewed or jobbed under such a man ; also, that tor similar reasons he 

oow got more money out of his oa\ti wretched lettings, unquestioned, 

J«aii anybody with a less knobby and less shining cro\vn could possibly 

^«iV€ done. " In a word, it was represented (Clennimi called to mind, 

'doxtc m the ticking parlor) that many people select their models, much 

:^ thfi painters, just now mentioned, 8<?lect theirs ; and that, whereas 

j^ tile Boyal Academy some evil old ruffian of a Dogstcaler will annually 

^' found embodying all the cardinal \'irtu(.'s, on account of his eyelashes, 

**[ o is chin, or his legs (thereby planting tlioms of contusion in the breasts 

J*: t>ie more observant students of uatun?), so, in the? great so(aal Exlii- 

"i^^ion, accessories are often accepted in lieu of the internal cliaracter. 

Calling these things to mind, and nuiging Mr. Pancks in a row with 
^^5*^ Arthur Clennam leaned this day to the opinion, without (juite 
deciding q^ {^^ that the last of the Patriarchs was the drifting Booby 







■V. 



108 urrus dokjut. 

aforesaid, with the one idea of keeping the bald part of his head higlilj 
polished : and that, much as an unwieldy ship in the Thames liyer 
may sometimes be seen heavily driving with the tide, broadside on, 
stem first, in its own way and in the way of everything else, though 
making a great show of navigation, when all of a sudden, a little ooaly 
steam-tug will bear down upon it, take it in tow, and bustle off with it; 
similarly, the cumbrous Patriarch had been taken in tow by the snort- 
ing Pancks, and was now following in the wake of that dingy little craft. 

The return of Mr. Casby, with his daughter Flora, put an end to 
these meditations. Clennam's eyes no sooner fell upon the object of 
his old passion, than it shivered and broke to pieces. 

Most men will be found sufficiently true to themselves to be true to 
an old idea. It is no proof of an inconstant mind, but exactly the 
opposite, when the idea will not bear close comparison with the realihr, 
and the contrast is a fatal shock to it. Such was Clennam's case. In 
his youth he had ardently loved this woman, and had heaped 'opon 
her all the lockcd-up wealth of his affection and imagination, lliai 
wealth had been, in his desert home, like Hobinson Crusoe's jg^jkff^; 
exchangeable with no one, lying idle in the dark to rust, imal he 
poured it out for her. Ever since that memorable time, though he had, 
until the night of' his arrival, as completely dismissed her from any 
association with his Present or Future as if she had been dead (which 
she might easily have been for anything he knew), he had kept the old 
(ifancy of the Past unchanged, in its old sacred place. ^Vnd now, after all, 
the lust of the Patriarchs coolly walked into the parlor, sa3^g in eflfecty 
"Be good enough to throw it down and dance upon it. This is Flora.*' 

Flora, always tall, had grown to be very broad too, and short of breath; 

but that w^as not much. Flora, whom he had left a lily, had become a 

.^ peony ; but that was not much. Flora, who had seemed enchanting in 

^ all she said and thought, was dif^se and silly. That was much. 

Flora, who had been spoiled and artless long ago, was determined to be 

spoiled and artless now. That was a fatal blow. 

This is Flora! 

** I am sure," giggled Flora, tossing her head with a caricature of 
her girlish manner, such as a mummer might have presented at her own 
funeral, if she had lived and died in classical antiquity, ''I am ashamed 
to see Mr. Clennam, I am a mere fright, I know he'll find me fearfully 
changed, I am actually an old woman, it*s shocking to be so found out, 
it's really shocking ! " 

He assured her that she was just what he had expected, and that 
time had not stood still with himself. 

" Oh ! But with a gentleman it's so different and really you look 
so amazingly well that you have no right to say anything of the kind, 
while, as to me you know— oh ! " cried Flora with a little scream, " I 
am dreadful ! " 

The Patriarch, apparently not yet understanding his own part in the 
drama under representation, glowed with vacant serenity. 

'* But if we talk of not haWng changed," said Flora, who, whatever 
she said, never once came to a full stop, ** look at Papa, is not Papa 
precisely what he was when you went away, isn't it cruel and unna- 
tural of Papa to be such a reproach to his ovra child, if we go on in 



UTTLB DOKRIT. 109 

tJiis way mach longer people who don't know us will begin to suppose 
that I am Papa's Mama ! 
Tbat must be a long time hence, Arthur considered. 
" Oh Mr. Glennam you insincerest of creatures," said Mora, " I per- 
ceive already you have not lost your old way of paying compliments, your 
old way when you used to pretend to be so sentimentally struck you Imow 
— at least I don't mean that, I —oh I don't know what I mean ! " 
Here Flora tittered confusedly, and gave him one of her old glances. 

The Patriarch, as if he now began to perceive that his part in the piece 
wastoget off the stage as soon as might be, rose, and went to the door byt 
lAfeEPancks had worked out, hailing that Tug by name. He received on' 
answer from some little Dock beyond, and was towed out of sight 
^reotly. 

** You mustn't think of going yet," said Flora — Arthur had looked 
at hiB hat, being in a ludicrous dismay, aud not knowing what to do ; 
"you could never be so unkind as to think of going, Arthur — ^I mean 
]ur« Arthur— or I suppose Mr. Clennam would be far more proper — ^but 
I am Bore I don't know what I'm saying — without a word about the ^ 
dear old days gone for ever, however when I come to think of it I dare S\ 
lay it~ would be much better not to speak of them and it's highly pro- 
bi^ that you have some much more agreeable engagement and pray 
let Me be ue last person in the world to interfere with it though there 
WM^il^time, but I am running into nonsense again." 

^as it possible that Flora could have been such a chatterer, in the 
I she referred to ? Could there have been anything like her present 
joipited .volubility, in the fascinations that had captivated him ? 
"Indeed I have little doubt," said Flora, running on with astonishing 
^eed, and pointing her conversation with nothing but commas, and 
very few of them, ** that you are married to some Chinese lady, being 
in China so long and being in business and naturally desirous to settle 
and extend your connection nothing was more likely than that you 
•hould propose to a Chinese lady and nothing was more natural 
I am sure than that the Chinese lady should accept you and 
think herself ver}^ well off too, I only hope she's not a Pugodian 
dissenter." 

"I am not," returned Arthur, smiling in spite of himself, " married 
to any lady, Flora." 

'* Oh good gracious me I hope you never kept yourself a baclielor so 
long on my account!" tittered Flora; **but of course you never did why 
should you, pray don't answer, I don't know where I*m running to, oh 
^ tell me something about the Chinese ladies whether their eyes aro 
^^y BO long and narrow always putting me in mind of mother-of-pearl 
l^h at cards and do they really wear tails down their bock and plaited 
■?^.or ig it only the men, and when they pull their hair so verj- tight off 
^^^^ foreheads don't they hurt themselves, and why do they stick little 
"®IU all over their bridges and temples and hats and things or don't thoy 
^'^^y do it ! " Flora gave him another of her old glances. Instantly ■ 
**^ Went on again, as ii* ho had spoken in reply for some time. 

** Then it's all true and they really do ! good gracious Arthur ! — 
Ff*y excuse me— old habit — Mr. Clennam far more proper — what a 
^^^*^try to live in for so long a time, and with so many lanterns and 



VI: 



A 




110 LITTLE DOBSrr. 

umbrellas too how Tcry dark and wet the climate ought to be and bo 
/ doubt actually ifi, and the sums of money that must be made by dioso 
N two trades where everybody carries them and hangs them evcrpprhere, 
the little shoes too and the feet screwed back in infancy is quite sur- 
prising, what a traveller you arc ! " 

In his ridiculous distress, Clennam received another of the old j^iaiioei^ 
I ^dthout in the least knowing what to do with it. 

"Dear dear," said Flora, "only to think of the changes at home Arthur 
— cannot overcome it, seems so natural, Mr. Clennam tar more proper 
— since you became fJEimiliar with the Chinese customs and language 
which I am persuaded you speak like a T^ative if not better for you were 
always quick and clover though immensely difficult no doubt, I am sore 
the tea chests alone would kill me if I tried, such changes Arthur — I 
am doing it again, seems so natural, most improper — as no one could 
have befieved, who could have ever imagined Mrs. Finching when I 
can't imagine it myself! " " " 

"Is that your married name ? " asked Arthur, struck, in the midst of 
all this, by a certain warmth of heart that expressed itsdf in her JtmifiL. 
when she referred, howe\'er oddly, to the youthful relation in winch 
jkhey had stood to one another. " Finching ? " 

" Finching oh yes isn't it a dreadful name, but as Mr. F said when 
ho proposed to me which he did seven times and handsomely consented 
I must say to be what he used to call on liking twelve months after all, 
he wasn't answerable for it and couldn't help it could he. Excellent man. 
not at all like you but oxccllent man ! " 

Flora had at last talked licrself out of breath for one moment. One 
moment; for sho rrcovtTcd breath in tlic act of raising a minute comer 
of her pocket-liaiidkorchiof to her eye, as a tribute to the ghoet of the 
dei)arted Mr. F, and began again. 

" No one could dispute, Arthur — ^^Fr. Clennam — that it'fl quite 
right you should be formally friendly to mv under the altered eircum- 
stonoes and indeed you couldn't Ik* anything else, at least I Kuppost? 
not you ought to know, but I can't help recalling that theiT teas a time 
when things were verj- different." 

" My dearMrs. Finching," Arthur began, struck by the good tone again. 

" Oh not that nasty ugly name, say Flora ! " 

" Flora. I assure you, Flora, I am liaj)])y in seeing you once more, 
and in finding that, like me, you have not forgotten tlie old foolisli. 
dreams, when we saw all Infore us in th(» light of our youth and ho]>e.'* 

"You don't seem so," pouted Flora, " vou take it vers' e<x)llv, but 
liowcver I know you are disappointed in me, I sup])ose the Chinew? 
ladies — !Mandarin(»sses if you call them so— -an? the cause or perhaps I 
am the causi' mvst^lf, it's iust as likelv." 

*' No, no," Clennam entreated, " don't say that." 

"Oh I must you know," said Flora, in a positive tone, "what non- 
sense not to, 1 know I am not what you expect(*d, 1 know that v( n- well." 

In the midst of her nipidity, she had found that out with the i^uiek 
p(Tception of a cleverer womxm. The inconsistent and profoundly 
unn'asonahle way in which she instantly went on, nevertheless, to inter-/ 
weave tlu-ir long-abandoni*d boy and girl relaticms with their j)rfsent| 
inter^^ew, made Clennam feel as if he were lightheaded. j 



LITTLE DOKILir. Ill 

"Odc remark," said Flora, g:iviiig their conversation, without the/ 
slighteflt notice emd to the great terror of Clennam, the tone of a love- 
quarrel, "I wish to make, one explanation I wish to offer, when your 
Mama came and made a scene of it ^dth my Pupa and when I was 
called down into the little breakfast room where they were looking at 
one another with your llama*s parasol between them seated on two 
chairs like mad buUs what was I to do ! " 

" My dear Mrs. Pinching," urged Clennam — " all so long ago and so 
long concluded, is it worth while seriously to—" 

" I can't, Arthur," returned Flora, " be denounced as heartless by the 
whole society of China without setting myself right when I have the 
opportTmity of doing so, and 3'ou must be very well aware that there was 
Paul and Virginia which had to be returned and which was returned 
without note or comment, not that I mean to say you could have 
written to me watched as I was but if it had only come back \^itli a red 
wafer on the cover I should have knoMii tliut it meant Come to Pekin 
Nankeen and What's the third place, barefoot." 

" My dear Mrs. Pinching, you were not to blame, and I never blamed 
you. Ve were both too young, too dependent imd helpless, to do any- 
thing but accept our seporatiou. — ^Pruy think how long ago," gently 
Temoutrated Arthur. 

"One more remark," proceeded Flora with unslackened volubilitj% 
*' I wish to make, one more explanation I wisli to otfor, for five days I 
W a cold in the head from crj-ing which I passed entin'ly in the back 
^wing-room — ^there is the back drawing-room still on the first floor 
and itiU at tlie back of the house to coiiiirm my words — when that 
dwjoy period had passed a lull succeeded years rolled on and Mr. F 
Wame acquainted with us at a mutual friend's, he was all attention 
^ called next day he soon began to call three evenings a week and to 
*^4 in Uttle tilings for supper, it was not love on Mr. F's part it was 
adoration, Mr. F proposed with the full approval of Papa and what 
wuldldo?" 

"Nothing whatever," said Arthui-, with the cheerfulcst readiness, 
"tet what you did. Let an old friend assure you uf his full conviction 
that you did quite right." 

"One last rtmiark," proceeded Flora, rejecting common-place? life 
▼itfl a wave of her hand, *' I wish to make, one hist explanation I wish 
Ij^.^ffor, there was a time ere Mr. F iirst i)aid attentions inea])able of 
»^ing mistaken, but that is past and was not to })e, dear Mr. Clennam 
y^ no longer wear a golden chain you are free 1 trust you may be 
°*PPy, here is Papa who is always tiresome and putting in his nose 
*^^;^'here where he is not wanted.". 

'^itb these 'W'ords, and witli a hasty gesture fraught with timid 
^^^lon — such a jresture had Clennam*s eyos been familiar witli in the 
''*ti time. — ^poor Flora left herself, at eijrhteen j-ears of age, a long long 
^''^y behind again ; and came to a full stop at last . 

J^ rather, she left about half of herself at ei;?hteeu years of age 

wnind, and grafted the rest on to the relict of the late ^Ir. V ; thus 

"J^^^a moral mermaid of herself, which h(!i' one*- boy-lover eontem- 

plati'd nith feelings wherein his sense of the soiTowlid and his sense 

^ cpjjUjaLwcre curiously blended. 



^19 



UtTLB DOBBTT. 



Forcxtunple. Ab if there were q secret undorstandingbotwetnlienolf 
Mid ClMuam of the most thrilliDg nature ; ss tf the first of a train 
post-chaiscB and four, extendiag all the way t« Scotland, were at that 
momcut round the corner ; and as if ahe couldn't (and wouldn't) hi 
walked into the Parish Church with him, under the shade of the family 
lunhrella, with the Patriarchal blcaaing on her head, and the pcrfivt 
eonourrence of all mankind ; Flora comforted her soul with ngonics of 
myBteriouaBignalling, expressing dread of discovery. With the eensatiun 
of becoming more and more lightheaded every minute, Clennam anw 
the relict of the late Mr. P enjoying herself in the moat wondarful 
manner, by putting herself and him in their old places, and going 
through all ^c old performances — now, when the stage was duslj, 
when the scenery was faded, when the youthful actors were dead, when 
the orchestra was empty, when the lights were out. And alill, through 
'~uU thia grotesque revival of what he remembered as having oaeo berji 
prettily natural to her, he could not but feel that it revived at sight of 
him, and that there was a tender memory in it. 

The Patriarch insisted on his staying to dinner, and Flora ngnallcd 
"Ye*!" Clennam so wished he could have done more than slay to 
dinner — so heartily wished be could have found the Flora that hail_ 
been, or that never had been — that he tlioughl the least atonement he 
could moke for the disappointment he almost felt ashamed of. waa tii 
give himself up to the family desire. Therefore, he stayed to dinner. 

Pancks dined with them. Puucks steamed out of his littlo <iock at 
a quarter before sis, and bore straight down for the Patriarch, who 
happened to be then driving, in an inane manner, through n stAgmnl 
oeeonnt of Bleeding Heart Yard. Poncks instantly made fast tu him 
and hauled him out. 

"Blwding Heart Yard?" said Pancks, with a puff and a mart. 
"It's a troubknorae property. Don't pay you badly, but 
vay hard to get there. You have more trouble with that 
than with all the places belonging to you." 

Just OB tlic big ship in tow gets the credit, with most spectators 
biiiiig the iHiwerfiil object, so the Patriarch usually swiacd to have ■■ 
himMlT whatever Pancks said for him. 

"Indeed?" returned Clennam, upon whom this impresaion WftS 
«Scientlr made by a mere gleam of the polished hood, that he 
theabip tnetond of the Tug. "The people are so poor there?" 

" Km can't say, you know," snorted Poneks, taking one of hi* 
hands out of his rusty iron-grey pockets to bile his nails, If be could 
any, and turning hia beads of eyee upon his employer, ' ' whether ihe^' 
poor or not. They say they are, but they all say that. When A iT' 
says he's rich, you're generally sure he isn't. Besides, if they 

poor, Tou cant help it. You'd bo poor yourself 

rent*. ' 

" Tmc enough," said Arthur. 

" You're not going to ki^ep oprn house (or oil the poor of Londmii 
puraued Pantk.H. " You're not going to lodge 'em for nothi 

't Boing 






know it, you an't." 



Mr. Cm 



T ihook hi« hend, in pladd md b 



<< If a man takes a room of you at half-a-crown a week, and when the 
week comes round hasn't got the half-crown, you say to that man, 
Why have you got the room, then ? If you haven't got the one thing, 
why have you got the other ? What have you been and done with 
your money ? What do you mean by it ? What arc you up to ? That's 
what yoH say to a man of that sort ; and if you didn't say it, more 
shame for you ! " Mr. Pancks here made a singular and startling noise, 
produced by a strong blowing effort in the region of the nose, unat- 
tended by any result but that acoustic one. 

" You have some extent of such property about the east and north- 
cast here, I believe?" saidClennam, doubtful which of the two to address. 
** Oh pretty well," said Pancks. " You're not particular to east or 
narth-east, any point of the compass will do for you. What you want 
is a good investment and a quick return. You take it where you can 
find it. You an't nice as to situation — ^not you." 

There was a fourth and most original figure in the Patriarchal tent, 

who also appeared before dinner. This was an amazing little old 

"WSSSl^i with a face like a staring wooden doll too cheap for expression, 

and a stiff yellow wig perched unevenly on the top of her head, as if 

the child who owned the doll had driven a tack through it anywhere, 

w that it only got fastened on. Another remarkable thing in this little 

old woman was, that the same child seemed to have damaged her face 

hi two or three places with some blunt instrument in the nature of a 

^poon; her countenance, and particularly the tip of her nose, presenting 

the phenomena of several dints, generally answering to the bowl of 

^ article. A further remarkable thing in this little old woman was, 

^t she had no name bu^-Mr. P's Aunt. 

She broke upon the visitor's view under the following circumstances : 

^ora said, when the first dish was being put on table, perhaps ^ 

• *r. Clennam might not have heard that Mr. F had left her a legacy ? 

Cleiinani in return implied his hope that Mr. F had endowed ,the wife 

^hom he adored, with the greater part of his worldly substance, if not 

J^th aU. Flora said, oh yes, she didn't mean that, Mr. F had made a 

*^Utifid will, but he had left her as a separate logiicy, liis Aunt. She 

then went out of the room to fetch the Tegacy, and, on her return, 

'^^ther triumphantly presented ** Mr. F's Aunt." 

The major characteristics discoverable by the stninger in Mr. F's Aunt, 

^cre extreme severity and grim taciturnity ; sometimes interrupted by 

* propensity to offer remarks, in a deep warning voice, which, being 

^toUy uncalled for by anything said by anybody, and traceable to no 

****Ociation of ideas, confounded and terrified the mind. Mr. F's Aunt 

^y have thrown in these observations on some system of her own, and it 

**^y have been ingenious, or even subtle ; but the key to it was wanted. 

^ The neatly-sen'cd and well-cooked dinm-r (^for everything about the 

"*triarchal household promoted quiet digestion) began with some soup, 

*Hiie fried soles, a butter-boat of shrimp sauce, and a dish of potatot^s. 

"ic conversation still turned on the receipt of rents. Mr. F's Aunt, 

I ^^'t regarding the company for ten minutes with a malevolent gaze, 

1 ^UverSl the following fearfid remark. 

I ** When wc lived at Henley, Barnes's gander was stole by tinkers." 

1 Mr. Pancks courageously nodded his lioad and said, '' All riglit. 



114 LI TILE DOERIT. 

ma'am." But the effect of this mysterious commuuication upon Cleniinm, 
was absolutely to frighten him. And another circumstance investeil 
this old lady with peculiar terrors. Though she was always sturing, 
she never acknowledged that she saw any individual. The politic 
and attentive stranger would desire, say, to consult her inclinations 
on the subject of potatoes. His expressive action would be hopelessly 
lost upon her, and what could he do ? No man could say, '* Mr. F's 
Aunt, will you permit me ? " Every man retired from the spoon, as 
Clennam did, cowed and baffled. 

There was mutton, a steak, and an apple-pic — ^nothing in the nnnotest 
way connected with ganders — and the dinner went on like a disenchanted 
feast, as it truly was. Onco upon a time Clennam had sat at that table 
taking no heed of anything but Flora ; now the principal heed he took 
of Flora was, to obser\T, against his wiU, that she was very fond of 
porter, that she combined a great deal of sherry with se ntiment , and 
' that if she were a little overgrown, it was upon substanlud grounds. 
The last of the Patriarchs had always been a mighty eater, and ho dis- 
posed of an immense quantity of solid food with the benignity of a good 
soul who was feeding some one else. Mr. Pancks, who was always 
in a hurry, and who referred at intervals to a little dirty note-book 
which he kept beside him (perhaps containing the names of the 
defaulters he meant to look up by way of dessert), took in his victuals 
much as if he were coaling ; with a good deal of noise, a good deal of 
dropping about, and a puff and a snort occasionaUy, as if he were 
nearly ready to steam away. 

All through dinner, Flora combined her present appetite for_eating 
and drinking, ^vith her past appetite for romantic love, in a wayTKat 
made Clennam afraid to lift his eyes from liis plato ; since he could not 
look towards her without receiving some glance of mysterious meaning 
or warning, as if they were engaged in a plot. Mr. F*s Aunt sat 
silently defying him with an aspect of the greatest bitterness, until the 
removal of the cloth and the appearance of the decanters, when she 
originated another obsen'ation — struck into the conversation like a clock, 
without consulting anybod)-. "*** 

Flora had just said ** Mr. tJlennam, TN-ill you give me a glass of port 
for Mr. FsAunt?" 

" The Monument near London Bridge," that lady instantly pro- 
claimed, ** was put up arter the Great Fire of London; and the Great 
Fire of London was not the fire in which your uncle George's work- 
shops was burned down." 

Mr. Pancks, with his former courage, said, ** Indeed, ma'am? All 
ri^^^ht I " But appearing to be incensed by imaginary contradiction, or 
other ill-usage, Mr. F*s Aunt, instead of relapsing into silence, mad 
tlie following additional proclamation. 

*a hate a fool!" 

She imparted to this sentiment, in itself almost Solomonic, so ^: 
tremely injurious and personal a character, by levelling it straight 
the visitor's head, that it bwame neeessar}' to lead Mr. F's Aunt 
the room. This was quietly done by Flora; Mr. F's Aunt offeri 
no resistance, but en«iuiring on her way out ** What be come there 
then ? " with implacable animosity. 




o 



LITTLE DORRIT. 115 

When Flora returned, she explained that her legacy was a clever old^ 
lady, but was sometimes a little singular, and **took dislikes " — ^pecu-? 
liarities of which Flora seemed to be proud rather than otherwise. As^ 
Flora's good nature shone in the case, Clennam had no fault to find 
with the old lady for eliciting it, now that he was relieyed from the 
terrors of her presence ; and they took a glass or two of wine in peace. 
Foreseeing then that liie Pancks would shortly get under weigh, and 
that the Patriarch would go to sleep, he pleaded the necessity of visit- 
ing his mother, and asked Mr. Pancks in which direction he was going? 
" Citywards, sir," said Pancks. 
" Shdl we walk together ? " said Arthur. 
''Quite agreeable," said Pancks. 

Meanwhile Flora was murmuring in rapid snatches for his ear, that 

there was a time and that the past was a yaAvning gulf however and 

that a golden chain no longer bound him and that she revered the 

memory of the Jaxe Mr. F and that she should be at home to-morrow 

at half-past one and that the decrees of Fate were beyond recall and 

that she considered nothing so improbable as that he ever walked on 

the north-west side of Gray*s-Inn Ghordens at exactly four o'clock in the 

afternoon, f He Iried at parting to give his hand in frankness to the 

sting Flora — ^not the vanished Flora, or the Mermaid — but Flora 

>aldn't have it, couldn't have it, was wholly destitute of the power 

^separating herself and him from their bygone characters. Ho left 

^fienouse miserably enough ; and so much more lightheaded than over, 

^t if it had not been his good fortune to be towed away, he might, 

w the first quarter of an hour, have drifted anywhere. 

When he began to come to himself, in the cooler air and the absence 

^^ Hora, he found Pancks at full speed, cropping such scanty pasturage 

pf Hails as ho could find, and snorting at intervals. Those, in con- 

J^otion with one hand in his pocket and his roughened hat hind side 

'^ioTe, were evidently the conditions under which he reflected. 

* * A fresh night ! " said Arthur. 

* * Yes, it's pretty fresh," assented Pancks. * * As a stranger, you feel the 
^"^*Vate more than I do, I dare say. Indeed I haven't got time to feel it." 

^ * You lead such a busy Ufe ? " 

* * Ye.«, I have always some of *em to look up, or something to look 
j*/^!". But I like biwiness," said Pancks, getting on a little faster. 
** ^Vliat's a man made for ? " 

For nothing else ? " said Clennam. 
I^smcks put the counter question, ** What ebc ? " It packed up, in 
^*^ smallest compass, a weight that had rested on Clennam' s life ; and 
"^ »iiade no answer. 

*• That's what I ask our weekly tenants," said Pancks. *^ Some of 

^^^ will pull long faces to me, and say, Poor as you sec us, master, we're 

^^'uys grinding, drudging, toiling, every minute we're awake. I say 

^^ them. What else are you made for? It shuts them up. They haven't 

li "^ord to answer. What else are you made for ? That clinches it." 

" Ah dear, dear, dear I " sighed Clennam. 

"Here am I,**liffld Pancks, pursuing his argument with the weekly 
ti-nant. " What else do you suppose I think I am made for ? Nothing. 
B^tle me out of bed early, set me going, give me as short a time as 

I 2 



<) 



IIG LITTLE DO&KIT. 

you like to bolt my meals in, and keep mo at it. Keep me alw^fs at 
it, m keep you always at it, you keep somebody else always at it. There 
jgHare, with the WJwle Dutyof Man in a coxnmcrcial country." 

When they had wiSkeJ a"mflc "Juirflier in silence/ CleSnlfflPB&id : 
" Have you no taste for anything, Mr. Pancks ? " 

" What's taste ? ' ' dryly retorted Pancks. 

** Let us say inclination." 

** I haTC an inclination ta,.gfitv.ni2S^> '^>" ^^ Pancks, " if youTI 
"^ show me how." He blew off that sound again, and it occurred to his- 
companion for the first time that it was his way of laughing. He was 
a singular man in all respects ; he might not have been quite in earnest, 
but that the short, hard, rapid manner in which he shot out these 
cinders of principles, as if it were done by mnplmTi^^ff^ ^^^^lY ^ r j i 
seemed irreconcilable with banter. 

** You are no great reader, I suppose?" said Glennam. 

** Never read anything but letters and accounts. Kever collect any- 
thing but advertisements relative to next of kin. If thai^a a taste, I 
have got that^ You're not of the Clennams of Ck>mwall, Mr. Clennam.'^ 

" Kot that I ever heard of." 

** I know you're not. I asked your mother, sir. She has too much 
character to let a chance escape her." 

** Supposing I had been of the Clennams of Cornwall ? " 

** You'd have heard of something to your advantage." 

*' Indeed ! I have heard of little enough to my advantage, for some 
time." 

'* There's a Cornish property going a begging, sir, and not a Cornish 
Clennam to have it for the asking," said Pancks, taking his note-book 
&om his breast pocket and putting it in again. ** 1 turn off here. I 
wish you good night." 

'* Good night! " said Clennam. But the Tug suddenly lightened, 
and, untrammclcd by having any weight in tcv^, was already puffing 
away into the distance. 

They had crossed Smithfield together, and Clennam was left alone at 
the comer of Barbican. He had no intention of presenting himself in his 
mother's dismal room that night, and could not have felt more depressed 
and cast away if he had been in a wilderness. He turned slowly down 
Aldersgato Street, and was pondering his way along towards Saint 
Paul's, purposing to come into one of the great thoroughfares for the 
sake of their light and life, when a crowd of people flocked towards 
him on the same pavement, and he stood aside against a shop to let them 
pass. As they came up, he made out that they were gathered round a 
something that was carried on men's shoulders. He soon saw that it 
was a litter, hastily made of a shutter or some such thing; and a 
recumbent figure upon it, and the scraps of conversation in the crowd, 
and a muddy bundle carried by one man, and a muddy hat carried b j — 
another, informed him that an accident had occurred. The litter stoppedK 
under a lamp before it had passed him half a dozen paces, for sonu^M 
re-adjustmcnt of the burden ; and, the crowd stopping too, he foi 
himself in the midst of the array. 

** An accident going to the Hospital?" he asked an old man bcffl< 
him, who stood shaking his head, inviting conversation. 



LXTTLB DORRIT. 117 

'* Yes," said the man, ** along of them ^^js. They ought to he pro- 
eccuted and fined, them Mails . They come a racing out of Lad Lane 
and Wood Street at twelve or fourteen mile a hour, them Mails do. 
The onlT wonder is, that people an't killed oftener hy them Mails." 
<< This person is not killed, I hope ? " 

" I don't know ! " said the man, "it an't for the want of a will in them 
Mails, if he an't." The speaker having folded his arms, and set in 
comCcnrtably to address his depreciation of them Mails to any of the 
bystanders who would listen, several voices, out of pure sympathy with 
the Bofferer, confirmed him; one voice saying to Clennam, ''They're a 
public nuisance, them Mails, sir;" another, '' /see one on 'em puU up 
within half a inch of a boy, last night ;" another, '' / see one on 'em go 
over a cat, sir — and it might have been yoiu* own mother;" and all 
representing, by implication, that if he happened to possess any public 
influence, he could not use it better than against them Mails. 

" Why, a native Englishman is put to it es-ery night of his life, to save 

his life from them Mails," argued the first old man; ''and he knows when 

the3r're a coming round the comer, to tear him limb from limb. What 

can you expect from a poor foreigner who don't know nothing about 'em ! " 

" Is this a foreigner ? " said Clennam, leaning for^-ard to look. 

In the midst of such replies as " Frenchman, sir," "Porteghee, sir," 

"Dutchman, sir," " Prooshan, sir," and other conflicting testimony, he 

now heard a feeble voice asking, both in Italian and in French, for 

^ater. ^ " general remark goiog round, in reply, of " Ah, poor fellow, he 

s^ he'll never get over it; and no wonder ! " Clennam begged to bo 

allowed to pass, as he understood the poor creature. He was immedi- 

^y handei to the front, to speak to him. 

" First, he wants some water," said he, looking round. (A dozen 
8ood fellows~3ispersed to get it.) " Are you badly hurt, my friend ? " 
^e asked the man on the Utter, in Italian. 

" Yes, sir ; yes, yes, yes. It's my leg, it's my leg. But it pleases 
^"^ to hear the old music, though I am very bad." 

** You are a traveller ? Stay I See the water ! Let me give you 
some." 

They had rested the litter on a pile of paving stones. It was at a 
<^oiiYenient height from the ground, and by stooping he could lightly 
'"'^ise the head with one hand, and hold the glass to the lips with the 
"^thcr. A little, muscular, brown man, Tidth black hair and white teeth. 
"^ lively face, apparently. Ear-rings in his ears. 
' * That's well. You are a traveller ? ' ' 
•• Surely, sir." 
*' A stranger in this city ? " 

** Surely, surely, altogether. I am arrived this unhappy evening." 
*• From what countrj- ? " 
*' Manemes." 
^ ** WhyTseethere ! I also ! Almost as much a stranger here as you, 
^ough bom here, I came from Marseilles a little while ago. Don't be 
^'^•t down." The fece looked up at him imiJoringly, as he rose from 
^^H>ing it, and gently replaced the coat that covered the writhing figure. 
* I won't leave you, till you shall be well taken care of. Courage ! 
Yo^ ,^ ^ y^jy much better, half-an-hour hence." 



i 



118 LITTLE DORBIT. 

** Ah I Altro, Altro ! " cried the poor little man, in a faintly incre- 
dulous tone ; and as they took him up, hung out his right hand to give 
the forefinger a back-handed shake in the air. 

Arthur Clennam turned ; and walking beside the litter, and saying 
an encouraging word now and then, accompanied it to the neighbouring 
hospital of Saint Bartholomew. Kone of the crowd but the bearers and 
he being admitted, the disabled man was soon laid on a table in a cool, 
methodical way, and carefully examined by a surgeon : who was as ncai 
at hand, and as ready to appear, as Calamity herself. " He hardly kno^-e 
an Englisli word," said Clennam ; ** is he badly hurt?" **Jjiot us know 
all about it first," said the surgeon, continuing his examination with a 
business-like delight in it, ** before we pronoimce." 

After trying the leg with a finger and two fingers, and one hand and 
two hands, and over and under, and up and down, and in this dircctioii 
and in that, and approvingly remarking on the points of interest to 
another gentleman who joined him, the surgeon at last clapped the 
patient on the shoulder, and said, ** He won't hurt. He'll do very well. 
It's difficult enough, but we shidl not want him to part with his leg thii 
time." Which Clennam interpreted to the patient, who was fall ol 
gratitude, and, in his demonstrative way, ki8si?d both the interpretcr'i! 
hand and the surgeon's, several times. 

"It's a serious injury, I suppose ?" said Clennam. 

"Ye-es," replied the surgeon, with the thoughtful pleasure of an 
artist, contemplating the work upon Ins easel. "Yes, it's enough. 
There's a compoimd fracture above the knee, and a dislocation below 
They are both of a Ix^autiful kind." He gave the patient a firicndl; 
(rla]) on the shoulder again, as if he really felt that he was a very goo 
fellow indeed, and worthy of all . coininendution for having broken h' 
leg in a manner interesting to Kcience. 

** He speaks French ? " said the surgeon. 

"Oh yes, he speaks French." 

" He'll Ik* at no loss here, then. — You have only to bear a little pi 
like a brave follow, my friend, and to 1h' thankful tliat all go<.*s as well a 
does," he added, in that tongue, "and you'll walk again to a manel. N< 
let us see whether there's anything else the matter, and how our ribs ai 

Then* was nothing els<' the matter, and our ribs were soi 
Clennam remained until everything jwissible to Ik* done liad Ikvu skilf 
and ])romptly <lone — the ))oor belated wanderer in a strange land movi 
liesought that favor of him — and lingend by the }>ed to which he 
in due time removed, until he had fallen into a doze. Even th< 
Avrote a few words for him on his card, with a promise to r 
to-morrow, and left it to he given to him when lie should awake. 

All these prfK.-e<*dings occupied so long, that it stnick eleven o 
at night as he came out at the nosj)ital (late. He had hirt^l a h 
for the i)resent in Covent (iarden, and he took the neiuest way * 
quarter, hy Snow Hill and Holboni. 

Ia'11 to himself again. ni\vr the solicitude and conijia.»^sion 
last adventun*, he was naturally in a thouglitful nuwd. As na 
he could not walk on thinking for ten minutes, without nw-allin 
She nece^*yirily nvalled to him his life, wiih all its niis4.liriH-t 
little ha]»]>iness. 



LITTLE DOKRIT. 119 

When he got to his lodging, he sat down before the dying fire, as he 
had stood at the Tvindow of his old room looking out upon the blackened 
forest of chimneys, and turned his gaze back upon the gloomy \'ista by 
which he had come to that stage in his existence. So long, so bare, so ', 
blank. j Ko childhood ; no youth, except for one remembrance ; the one r\ 
Remembrance proved, only that day, to be a piece of foUy. 
Tl was a misfortune to him, trifle as it might have been to another. 
For, while aU that was hard and stem in his recollection, remained 
Eeidity on being proved — ^was obdurate to the sight and touch, and 
relaxed nothing of its old indomitable grimncss — ^the one tender recoil' 
lection of his experience would not bear the same test, and melted awaV; 
lie had foreseen this, on the former night, when he had dreamed wim 
waking eyes ; but he had not felt it then ; and ho had now. 
- - He was a dreamer in such wise, because he was a man who had deep- 
rooted in his nature, a belief in all the gentle and good things his life 
liad been without. Bred in meanness and hard dealing, this had rescued 
him to l>e a man of honorable mind and open hand. Bred in coldness 
and severity, this had rescued him to have a warm and sj-mpathetic 
heart. Bred in a creed too darkly audacious to pursue, through its process 
oT reversing the making of man in the image of his Creator to the making 
of his Creator in the image of an erring man, this had rescued him to 
judge not, and in humility to be merciful, and ha%'e hope and charity. 

And this saved him still from the whimpering weakness and ciiiel 
selfishness of holding that because such a haj)pincss or such a 
Tirtue had not come into his little path, or worked Avell for him, 
therefore it was not in the great scheme, but was reducible, when 
^i>und in appearance, to the bast»st elements. A disappointed mind he 
^lad, but a mind t^x) firm and healtliy for such unwholesome air. 
I<*a\-ing himself in the dark, it could rise into the light, seeing it shine I 
on others and hailing it. I 

Therefore, he sat before his dpng fire, sorro\N-ful to think upon the 

^^s\y by which he had come to that night, yet not strewing poison on 

^hcj way by which other men had come to it. That he should have 

y ^li.&scd so mudu imd at his time of life should look so far about him for 

•*1 J staff to bear him company upon his downward journey and cheer it, 

\*'a45 a just regret. He looked at the fire from Avhich the blaze departed, 

^^r-om which the after-glow subsided, in which the ashes turned grey, 

**~c^m which they dropped to dust, and thought, ** How soon I too shall 

piisa through such changes, and be gone !'* 

To re\'iew his life, was like descending a gi'cen tree in fruit and 
|*«=^^'er, and seeing all the branches wither and drop off one by one, as 
1^^* came down towards them. 

** From the unhappy suppression of my youngest days, through the 

r* fJ^id and unloving home that followed them, through my departun^, my 

^*?^g exile, my return, my mother's welcome, my intercoui*se with her 

^^^'•^ce, down to the afternoon of this day with poor Flora,'* said ^Vrthur 

^'Xcnnam, ** what have I found !" 

His door was softly opened, and these spoken words startled him, 
^^d came as if thev were im ansAver : 
"Little D..:Tit.''' 



i 



CHAPTER XIV. 

LITTLE DORItlT'a PARTY. 

AjiTHnt CuexnAii roAc hastily, and Bnw hor etonding at the door. 
Thi« history miiBt somctinics kc with Little Dorrit'a t-ycs, and sbidl 
begin that voanc by sceiiig him. 

Little Dorrit lookc-d into n dim room, which seemed a spacious one to 
lior. and grandly fUmiBhtd. Courtly idt-as of CoTcat Oarden, as a place 
with famous coffcc-housce. where gentlemen wearing gold-loced c 
and swords hod quarrelled and fought duels; costly ideas of Covuit 
Garden, as a plow where there were flowora in winter nt giiiucns a-pieoc, 
pine'Bppleii at guineas a jKiund, and peas at guiuoas a [tint ; pietunwqua, 
idaiw of Cvvcnt Oarden, lis a place where there was a mighty thca&e, 
showing wonderful and beautiful wghta to richly dressed ladies and 
gentlemen, and which was for ever for beyond the reach of pocr Fanof 
or poor uncle ; desolate idc«s of Corent Garden, aa hnving all thoae 
arcbr« in it, where the miserable children in raga among whom slio had 
just now passed, like young nits, slimk and hid, fed uu offal, huddbd 
logi'ther lor warmth, and were hunted about (look to the wta y 
tand old, all ye Itarnueles. for before God ther are eating away i 
Voundations. and nill bring the roofs on our heads!); teeming id« 
«f CoTent Garden, an a place of past and present mystery, nmutOMt, 
iibundnniv, wont, beauty, uglinesB, fair country gimlens, and foul 
stm<t-gutturs. all eonf\]H('<l together, — made the room dimmer than it 
wiis, in little Dorrit's eyes, as they timidly saw it from the door. 

At Gift in the choir before the gone-out Ere. and then turned ri 
wondering to ace her, was the gentleman whom she sought, 
brown, grare gentleman, who smiled so plea.4anlly, who was m f 
and considerate in lus manner, and yet in whose enniestnets there n 
something that reminded her of his mother, with the great diffi-nsov 
that she was earnest in unpenty and he in gcntlenees. Nuw be regnidi^ 
her with that atten^ve and enquiring look before which Little Doirit'i 
fyes had always fallen, and before which they fell still, 

" My poor child ! Here at midnight!"' 

" I enid Litllo Dnrrit, sir, on purpose to pr«^arc you. I knov J 
must he vi'ry muuh suqirtsed." 

"Are you olone?" 

"ICo, sir, I have gut Maggy wifli i 

Con^iidcring her entrance eufflcieutly ]in _ 
lior name, Hnggy appeared from th" landi 
grin. She instantly sujuirfsaed thiit n 



a &Tt:" 

> liphth' 



said .( 



LinXE DOBRTT. 121 

Cutting tlie cliair from wKiuh he had risen, nearer to the prate, hi- 

",e her sit dawn in it ; and hmriedlj' bringing wood and oval, beupcd 

a together and got a blaze. " Your foot is like maiLle, my child;" 

■ had happened to touch it, while stooping on one knee at lih work 

iindling the fire ; " put it nearer the warmth." Little Dorril thankod 

^ B hastily. It was (juit« warm, it was verj' warm '. It ismote upon 

p heart to feel that she hid her thin, woiTi shoe. 

tittle Dorrit was not uahamed of her poor shoes. He knew her 

-. sad it was not that. Little Borrit had n misgii-ing that he might 

o her fathei', if ho saw them ; that be might think, " why did h^ 

wto-day.aQdleovethialittlccreature to themareyofthecold nUmoi'."] 

e badj\g_bclicf that It would hare^been a jugt j^Qnction ; tiw nimp^ 

V, by experience, that such delusions did eometiiDeB proent thirni- 

!S to people. It waa a part of her father's nusfortunes tiut thi^ did. 

*' fiefirt'o I say anything elae," Little Dorrit began, sitting before tlw 

[e fire, and raising her eyes again to the face which in it* hannoiuoiu 

Touli of intcrent, and pity, and protection, she felt t« be a mystery br 

above her in degree, and almost rermoved beyond her gurMiBg al ; 

" may I tell you something, sir ? " 

" Yen, my ctuli" 

A slight shade of distress fell upon her, at his to oltra calUsf bcr * 
rhild. She was surprised that he should see t(, or think «f gath a 
ili^t thing ; but he said directly : 

" I wanted a tender word, and could think of no ntiur. A« you 
juit now garo yourself the name they give yon at my mother'i, ami m 
that in Uio name by which I always think uf you, hA nt ctU jvu 
Ultlf Uorrit." 
" Tluuik you, sir, I should like it better than aay nsme." 
" IjtUe Uorrit." 

" Little mother," lilaggy (who had been falling ■■lifij pot Eb, ■• « 
Uinifctiou. 
"It'ikll the same, Maggy," retnmed Dorrit, "all tWaMe." 
" la it all the same, mother? " 
■■iMtUieBi 
~ [a;^ Iuu<;hi<l. and immediately enorcd. I> little Itanit'a ffwa 

"' -e and the uncouth Mond wm- m ' "- 

s of pride in her big child, « __ 
.:tiii met the eyes of the gnyt" hrwaa 

I lie wuB thinking of. aa he hjoktid at Hmhi-. 

II gu')d father he would be. Sow, 't/iAmt 
md cherish his daughter, 
to tell you, sir," sold littlt ll«rfl. 




hear it, and hoped hr vmAI 4* •-•il 




.J;", <-»»> ait 



y 



122 LITTLB DORIUT. 

and chance of doing a little service to her, who well deserved a 
great one. 

"And what I was going to say, sir, is," said Little Dorrit, trembling 
more and more, "that if I knew him, and I might, I would tell him 
that he can never, never know how I feel his goodness, and how my 
good father would feel it. And what I was going to say, sir, is, that 
if I knew him, and I might — ^but I don't know him and 1 must not — ^I 
know that! — ^I would tell him that I shall never any more lie down to 
sleep, without having prayed to Heaven to bless him and reward him. 
And if I knew him, and I might, I would go down on my knees to 
him, and take his hand and kiss it, and ask lum not to draw it away, 
but to leave it — to leave it for a moment — and let my thankful tears 
fall on it, for I have no other thanks to give him ! " 

Little Dorrit had put his hand to herHps, and would have kneeled to 
liim ; but he gently prevented her, and replaced her in her chair. Her 
eyes, and the tones of her voice, had thanked him far better than she 
thought. He was not able to say, quite as composedly as usual, "There, 
LittleDorrit ; there, there, there ! "We will suppose that you did know 
this person, and that you might do all this, and that it was all done. And 
now tell me, who am quite another person — who am nothing more than 
the friend who begged you to trust him — why you are out at midnight, 
and what it is that brings you so far through the streets at this late 
hour, my slight, delicate," child was on his lips again, "Little Dorrit!" 

" Maggy and I have been to-night," she answered, subduing herself 
with the quiet effort that had long been natural to her, "to the theatre 
where my sister is engaged." 

" And oh ain't it a 'Ev'nly place," suddenly interrupted Maggy, who 
. seemed to have the power of going to sh^ep and waking uj) whenever she 
^ chose. "Almost as good as a hospital. Only there ain't no Chicking in it." 

Here she shook herself, and fell asleep again. 

** We went there," said Little Dorrit, glancing at her charge, "because 
I like sometimes to know, of my own knowledge, that my sister is doing 
well ; and like to bvq her there, ^nth my own eyes, when neitlier she nor 
Uncle is aware. It is ver}- seldom indeed tliat I can do that, because 
when I am not out at work I anr with mv father, nnd even when 1 am 
out at work I hurry home to him. But I pret^^nd to-night that I am 
at a party." 

As she made the confession, timidly hesitating, she raise<l her eyes to 
the face, and read its exprc^ssion so i)lainly that she answered it. 

" Oh no, certainly ! I never was at a j)arty in ray life." 

Slie i)aus<.»d a little under his attentive look, and then said, " 1 hope 
then* is no harm in it. I could never have bec»n of anv use, if 1 had 
not pretendwl a little." 

She feared that he was blaming her in liis mind, for so devising to 
contrive for them, think for them, and watch over them, without their 
knowledge or gratitude ; perhaj)s even with their repn)aches for sup- 
jM)Si'd neglect. But what was really in his mind, was the weak figon* 
with its strong puq>ose, the thin worn shoes, the insufficient dress, and 
the i)retence of recreation and enjoyment. He askcnl where the sup- 
])osititious party was ? At a i)lace where she worked, answered Little 
Dorrit, blushing. She had said veiy little about it; only a fvw word5 



LITTLE BORRIT. 123 

to make her father easy. Her father did not believe it to bo a grand 
party — indeed he might suppose that. And she glanced for an instant > 

at the shawl she wore. /v»^^ 

" It is the first night," said Little Dorrit, ** that I have ever been y 
amray firom home. And London looks so large, so barren, and so wild.'/ 
In Little Dorrit's eyes, its'vastness under the black sky was awful ; a 
tx*cmor passed over her as she said the words. 

" But this is not," she added, with the quiet effort again, ** what I have 
come to trouble you with, sir. My sister's having found a friend, a lady 
8>lie has told me of and made me rather anxious about, was the first cause 
of my coming away from home. And being away, and coming (on pur- 
I>ose) round by where you lived, and seeing a light in the window " 

Not for the first time. No, not for the first time. In Little Dorrit* s 
o^-cSy the outside of that window had been a distant star, on other nights 
tlaan this. She had toiled out of her way, tired and troubled, to look 
xip at it, and wonder about the grave brown gentleman from so far off, 
A%'ho had spoken to her as a friend and protector. 

'* There were three things," said Little Dorrit, " that I thought I 
"^ould like to say, if you were alone and I might come up-stairs. First, 
"%vhat I have tried to say, but never can — ^never shall " 

** Hush, hush ! That is done with, and disposed of. Let us pass to 
^^e second," said Clcnnam, smiling her agitation away, making the 
l>laze shine upon her, and putting wine and cake and fruit towards her 
OIL the table. 

" I think," said Little Dorrit — ** this is the second thing, sir — I think 
I&Irs. Clennam must have found out my secret, and must know where I 
ciome from and where I go to. "Where I live, I mean." 

" Indeed ? " returned Clennam, quickly. He asked her, after a short 
c^cnsideration, why she supposed so. 

"I think," replied Little Dorrit, ** that 3Ir. Flintwinch must have 
^^atched me." 

And why, Clennam asked, as ho turned his eyes upon the fire, bent 
brows, and considered again ; why did she suppose that ? 

" I have met him twice. Both times near home. Both times at 
^»^ight, when I was going back. Both times I thought (though that may 
^^asily be my mistalvc), that he hardly looked as if he had met mc by 
^la^ident." 

" Did he say anything ? " 

" No ; he only nodded and put his head on one side." 

" The devil take his head ! " mused Clennam, still looking at the fire; 
^ ^ifs always on one side." 

He roused himself to persuade her to put some wine to her lips, and 
"t:^ touch something to eat — ^it was very difficult, she was so timid and 
^ihy — and then said, musing again : 

"Is my mother at all changed to you ? " 

*' Oh, not at all. She is just the same. I wondered whether I had 
^ttcr tell her my history. I wondered whether I might — I mean, ,.i 
'"^better you would like me to tell her. I wondered," said Little Dorritr)^ 
^<>oking at him in a suppliant way, and gradually withdra\\ing her eyes as"^ 
^ looked at her, *' whether you would advise mc what I ought to do." 

** Little Dorrit," said Clcnnam ; and the plirase had already bcgvixi, 



124 UTTLB DOR&IT. 

between those two, to stand for a hundred gentle phrases, according to 
the varying tone and connexion in which it was used ; 'Mo nothing. I 
will have some talk with my old friend, Mrs. Affery. Do nothing. 
Little Dorrit — except refresh yourself with such means as there aie 
here. I entreat you to do that." 

'' Thank you, I am not hungry. Nor,'' said Little Dorrit, as he 
softly put her glass towards her, ** nor thirsty. — ^I think Maggy might 
like something, perhaps.'' 

** We will make her find pockets presently for all there is here," said 
Olennam ; ** but before we awake her, there was a third thing to aaj." 

** Yes. You will not be offended, sir ? " 

'* I promise that, unreservedly." 

** It will sound strange. I hardly know how to sav it. Don't think 
it unreasonable or ung^teful in me, said Little Domt, with retaming 
and increasing agitation. 

''No, no, no. I am sure it Avill be natural and right. I am not 
afraid that I shall put a wrong construction on it, whatever it is." 

'' Thank you. You are coming back to see my father again ? " 

" Yes." 

** You have been so good and though tfril as to write him a note, say- 
ing that you are coming to-morrow ? " 

** Oh, that was nothing ! Yes." 

*^ Can you guess," said Little Dorrit, folding her small hands tight in 
one another, and looking at him with all the earnestness of her soul 
looking steadilv out of her eyes, '' what I am going to ask you not to 
do?" 

** I think I can. But I may be wronj?." 

** No, you arc not wrong," said Little Dorrit, shaking her head. ** If 
wc should want it so vcr}-, ver}- badly that we cannot do without it, let 
Mf ask you for it." 

" I will,—I will." 
I ** Don't encourage him to ask. Don't understand him, if he docs 
psk. Don't give it to him. Save him and spare him that, and you 
Vill be able to think better of him! " 

Clennam said — not very plainly, seeing those tears glistening in her 
anxious eyes — ^that her wish should be sacred with him. 

"You don't know what he is," she said ; **you don't know what he 
really is. How can you, seeing him there all at once, dear love, and 
not gradually, as I have done I You have been so good to us, so deli- 
cately and truly good, that I want him to bo bettor in your eyes than 
in anybody's. And I cannot bear to think," cried Little Dorrit, 
covering her tears with her hands, ** I cannot bear to think, that you 
-of all the world should see him in his only moments of degradation ! " 

"Pray," said Clennam, **do not bo so distresscKi. Tray, praj, 
Little Dorrit! This is quite understood now." 

** Thank you, sir. Thank you ! I h^ve tried very much to keep 
mysi'lf from saying this ; I have thought about it, days and nights ; but 
when I knew for certain you were coming again, I made up my mind 
to speak to you. Not because I am ashamed of him," she dried her 
tears quickly, **but because I know him better than any one docs, and 
love him, and am proud of him." 



LITTLB BOBRTF. 125 

Believed of this weight. Little Dorrit was nervously anxious to bo 
gone. Maggy being broad awake, and in the act of distantly gloating 
OTer the fruit and cakes with chuckles of anticipation, Clennam made 
the best diyenion in his power by pouring her out a glass of wine, 
which she drank in a series of loud smacks ; putting her hand upon her 
windpipe after every one, and saying, breathless, with her eyes in a 
very prominent state, "Oh ain't it delicious! Ain't it hospitally!" 
When she had finished the wine and these encomiums, he charged her 
to loftd her basket (she was never without her basket) with everj- 
eatable thing upon the table, and to take especial care to leave no scrap 
behind. HiEiggy's pleasure in doing this, and her little mother* s 
pleasore in seeing Maggy pleased, was as good a turn as circumstances 
could have given to the late conversation. 

"But the gates will have been locked long ago/' said Clennam, 
suddenly remembering it. " Where are you going ? " 

" I am going to Maggy's lodging," answered Little Dorrit. " I 
shall be quite scie, quite well taken care of." 

" I must accompany you there," said Clennam. " I cannot let you 
goahme." 

"Yes, pray leave us to go there by ourselves. Pray do ! " begged 
little Dorrit. 

She was so earnest in the petition, that Clennam felt a delicacy in 
olttniding himself upon her : the rather, because he could well under- 
stand that Maggy's lodging was of the obscurest sort. " Come, Maggy," 
said Little Dorrit, cheerilv, "wc shall do very well; we know the 
^»y, by this time, Maggy r " 

"Yes, yes, little mother; we know the way," chuckled Maggy. 
^ away they went. Little Dorrit turned at the door to say " God 
bleaa you ! " She said it very softly, but perhaps she may have been 
•8 audible above — who knows ! — as a whole cathedral choir. 

Arthur Clennam suffered them to pass the comer of the street, before? 
he followed at a distance ; not with any idea of encroaching a second 
"Die on Little Dorrit's privacy, but to satisfy his mind by seeing her 
*f^We, in the neighbourhood to which she was accustomed. So diminu- 
w she looked, so fragile and defenceless against the bleak damp 
▼eather, flitting along in the shuffling shadow of her charge, that he 
fcl^ in his compassion, and in his habit of considering her a child apart 
"^ the rest of the rough world, as if he would have been glad to 
™te her up in his arms and carry her to her journey's end. 

lo course of time she came into the leading thoroughfare where the 
^■'sbaUea was, and then he saw them slacken their pace, and soon 
^^ down a bye-street. He stopped, felt that he had no right to go 
"P^T, and slowly left them. He had no suspicion that they ran any 
"*k ai being houseless until morning ; had no idea of the truth, until 
^% long afterwards. . 

. ^ttt, said Little Dorrit, iH^i^ they stopped at a poor dwelling all 
P^«riuie«B, and heard no sound on listening at the door, "Now, this 
"•good lodging for you, Maggy, and we must not give offence. Con- 
■eqnently, we will only knock twice, and not very loud ; and if wo 
cwuiotwake them so, we must walk about till day." 
Once, Little Dorrit knocked with a careful hand, and listened. 



12(j Lirrij!: uojirit. 

Twice, LitUo Dorrit knocked with a careM hand, and listened. All 
was close and still. ''Maggy, we must do the hest we can, my dear. 
"We must be patient, and wait for day.*' 

It was a chill dark night, with a damp wind blowing, when they 
came out into the leading street again, and heard the clocks strike 
half-past one. "In only five hours and a half,'' scdd Little Dorrit, 
''we shall be able to go home." To speak of home, and to go and look 
at it, it being so near, was a natund sequence. They went to the 
closed gate, and peeped through into the courtyard. " I hope he is 
sound asleep," said Little Dorrit, kissing one of the bars, " and does 
not miss me." 

The gate was so familiar, and so like a companion, that they put 
down ]IIagg}''8 basket in a comer to serve for a seat, and keeping cloio 
together, rested there for some time. While the street was empty and 
silent, Little Dorrit was not afraid ; but when she heard a footstep at a 
distance, or saw a moving shadow among the street lamps, she was 
startled, and whispered, "Maggy, I see some one. Come away!" 
Maggy would then wake up more or less fretfully, and they would 
wander about a little, and come back again. 

As long as eating was a novelty and an amusement, Maggy kept np 
pretty well. But, that period going by, she became querulous about 
the cold, and shivered and whimpered. " It will soon bo over, dear," 
said Little Dorrit, patiently. "Oh it's all very fine for you, litUe 
mother," returned Maggy, "but I'm a poor thing, only ten years old." 
At last, in the dead of the night, when the street was very still indeed, 
Little Dorrit laid the hca^y head upon her bosom, and soothed her to 
sleep. And thus she sat at the gate, as it were alone ; looking up at 
the stars, and secinp: the clouds pass over them in their wild flight — 
which was the dance at Little Dorrit' s party. 

" If it really was a party I" she thought once, as she sat there. " If 
it was light and warm and beautiful, and it was our house, and my poor 
dear was its master, and had never been inside these walls. And if Mr. 
Clennam was one of our ^'isitor8, and we were dancing to delightM 
music, and were all as gay and lighthcarted as ever we could be ! I 
wonder — " Such a vista of wonder opened out before her, that she sat 
looking up at the stars, quite lost; until Maggy was querulous again, 
and wanted to get up and walk. 

Three o'clock, and half-past three, and they had passed over London 
Bridge. They had heard the rush of the tide against obstacles ; had 
looked down, awed, through the dark vapor on the river ; had seen little 
spots of lighttKl wat(T where the bridge lamps were retiected, shining 
like demon eyes, >^'ith a terrible fascination in them for guilt and misery. 
They had shnink past homeless people, lying coiled up in nooks. They 
had nm from drunkards. They had started from slinking men, whistling 
and signing to one another at bye comers, or running away at ftiU 
speed. Though everywhere the leader and the guide, Little Dorrit, 
happy for once in her youthful appeanmce, feigned to cling to and rely 
upon Maggy. And more than once some voice, from among a knot of 
brawling or prowling figures in th(»ir path, had called out to the rest, to 
" let the woman and the child go by I " 

So, the woman and the child had gone by, and gone on, and fire had 



LITILB DOKKIT. 127 

sounded from the steeples. They were walking slowly towards the 

east, already looking for the first pale streak of day, when a woman 

came after them. 

" What are you doing with the child ? " she said to Maggy. 

She was young — ^fsar too young to be there, Heaven knows ! — and 

neither ugly nor wicked-looking. She spoke coarsely, but with no 

naturally coarse voice ; there was even something musical in its sound. 

" What are you doing with yourself?" retorted Maggy, for want of 

a better answer. 

" Can't you see, vrithout my telling you ? " 

" I don't know as I can," said Maggy. 

" Killing myself. Now I have answered you, answer me. What 

are yofu doing with the child? " 

The supposed child kept her head drooped down, and kept her form 

dose at Maggy's side. 

" Poor thing! " said the woman. " Have you no feeling, that you 

keep her out in the cruel streets at such a time as this ? Have you 

IK) eyes, that you don't see how delicate and slender she is ? Have you 

no sense (you don't look as if you had much) that you don't take more 

pity (m this cold and trembling little hand ? " 

She had stepped across to that side, and held the hand between her 

oim two, chafing it. " Kiss a poor lost creature, dear," she said, 

iKoding her face, " and tell me where she's taking you." 

little Dorrit turned towards her. 

" Why, my (hd ! " she said, recoiling, " you're a woman ! " 

" Bon't mind that ! " said Little Dorrit, clasping one of the hands 

that bad suddenly released hers. " I am not afraid of you." 

" Then you had. better be," she answered. ** Have you no mother? " 

" No." 

"Nofiither?" 

"Yes, a very dear one." 

" Go home to him, and be afraid of me. Let me go. Good night I " 

"I must thank you first; let me speak to you as if I reaUy Avas a 
child." 

"You can't do it," said the woman. ** You are kind and innocent ; 
^t you can't look at me out -of a child's eyes. I never should liavc 
touched you, but that I thought you Avere a child." And with a strang(», 
wild cry, she went away. 

Ko day yet in the sky, but there was day in the resounding stones of 
the streets ; in the waggons, carts, and coaches ; in the workers going 
to Tarious occupations ; in the opening of early shops ; in the traffic at 
^°*ritet8; in the stir at the river-side. There was coming day in the 
™ng lights, with a feebler color in them than they Avould have had 
^ another time ; coming day in the increased sharpness of the air, and 
^ ghastly dying of the night. 

They went back again to the gate, intending to wait there now until 
|t dumld be opened ; but the air was so raAV and cold, that Little Dorrit, 
*^ding Maggy about in her sleep, kept in motion. Going round by 
™ church, she saw lights there, and the door open ; and went up the 
«*«P9 and looked in. 

"Who's that?" cried a stout old man, who was putting on a nightcap 
M if he were going to bed in a vault. 



1«8 



LITTLH DOBBIT. 



[ 



" It's no one particulnr, sir," Bftid Little Dorril. 

"Stop!" cried the mon. " Let's havu a look at ymi ! " 

Tliis caused htr to turn back again, in the uct of guing out, and to I 
present bcradf and her cfaarge before him. 

" I tfaonght BO ! " said he. " I know you." 

" We have often seen ench other," said Little Dorrit, recognising tlie 1 
Hcxton, or the be.adle, or the verger, or whatever he wm, " when 1 h»ro \ 
boen at church here," 

" More than that, we've got your birth in our It<-p9t<T, you know ; 
you're one of our eurioaities." 

•' Indeed ? " naid Little Donit. 

" To he sure. As the child of tho — by the bye, how did you gwl oaU 

•' We were abut out latrt night, and are waiting to get in." 
" You don't mean it ? And there's another hour gixxl yet ! 
into the Vestry. You'll find a lire in the Vt-atry, on uceouut o 
painters. I'm waiting for tho pnintfrs, or I Ehouldn'tbe here, yon n 
depend upon it. One of our curioBities mustn't bo cold, when we ll 
it in our power to wtirm her up comfWtahle. Come ohing." 

Uewasa veiy good old fellow, in his familiar way; and having M 
tbo Vestry fire, ho looked round tho Bh<<lvr!i of regislers for n [ 
eulor volume. " Here you are, you see," he miid, tiiking it down ■ 
timing tho leaves. "Ilere you'll find yourself, as large 
daughter of William and Fimny Dorrit. Bora, Mumlialseo 1 
Parish of Saint Georf^s. And we tell people that yon have liva4 i 
without 90 much as a day's or a night's absence, ever since. Is it tntBt*! 
'• Quito true, tiU lust night." 

" Lord ! " But his surveying her with nn admiring gaze » 
Bomcthiiig else to him, to wit: " I am sorry lo see, Ibuugb, 
are faint and tired. Stay a bit. I'll gi't some eusliions oab ttPl 
church, and you and your friend shall lie down before the fln?. "" 
be a&ajd of not going in to join your father when tlie gat» 
J'U <M you." 

He soon brought in the cushion.'), and strewed them nu Hut g 
" Them j-ou art', you see. Again ac htrge uf life t)h. no«*r I 
Uiankiu);. rvedaughti^ntof my own. And though they weren't 
in the Marsholsca i*riM>n, they mi^hl have been, if 1 Imil been, ii 
ways of carrying on, of your father's breed, Sto]i a hit. I inni 
Mmetliing under the cu.«hioii for your head. Here's a lliirial i 
Just tlte thing ! Vie hnvo got Un. Bonghitm in this Imok. Bv 
mnkea Uicse bnoks interc*tiiii|t to most peojde is — not whu'a 
who im'l — who's coming, you know, and when. ITiut"* the Inttt 
question." 

Commendingly looking back at the pillow he hod iroproviKeU, I 
them to their hour's repose. Slnggy was snoring already, i 



Uorril WHS soon fast asleep, with her head resting oi 
of Fiiti-, untmahled by its mysterious blank leuves. 
This waa Little Dorrit's parly. The shame, Oi»i i 
and exposure, of tlio great cupilal; the wet, the c- 
aitd Ihe swift clouds, of the dismal night. This >' 
which I.itde Dorrit went home, jaded, in the first ^ 
uioming. 



tliat stwlofft 



UTTLB DORftlT. 129 



\ 



CHAPTEB XV. 

MRS. FLINTWIKCH HAS ANOTHER DREAM. 

The dcbilitftted^d ,]]tfmse in the city, wrapped in its mantle of 
soot, and Iwming heavily on the crutches that had partaken of its 
issssi and worn out with it, never knew a healthy or a cheerful 
interval, let what would betide. If the sun ever touched it, it was but 
with a raj, and that was gone in half an hour ; if the moonlight ever 
fell upon it, it was only to put a few patches on its doleful cloak, 
and make it look more wretched. The stars, to be sure, coldly 
etched it when the nights and the smoke were clear enough; and all 
M weather stood by it with a rare fidelity. You should alike find 
nin, bail, frost, and thaw lingering in that dismal enclosure, when 
they had vanished from other places ; and as to snow, you should see 
it there for weeks, long after it had changed from yellow to black, slowly 
▼eeping away its grimy life. The place had no other adherents. As to 
street noises, the rumbling of wheels in the lane merely rushed in 
at the gateway in going past, and rushed out again : making the 
ii^^teaing Mistress Affery feel as if she were deaf, and recovered the sense 
^ heanng by instantaneous flashes. So with whistling, singing, 
t^Udng, laughing, and all pleasant human sounds. They leaped the 
S^p in a moment, and went upon their way. 

The varying light of fire and candle in Mrs. Clennam's room made 

^^ greatest change that ever broke the dead monotony of the spot. 

^ her two long narrow windows, the fire shone suUenly all day, and 

^llcnly all night. On rare occasions, it flashed up passionately, as 

**^e did; but for the most part it was suppressed, like her, and preyed 

'^Pon itself evenly and dowly. During many hours of the short 

T^tcr days, however, when it was dusk tiiiere early in the afternoon, 

''^^aiiging distortions of herself in her wheeled chair, of Mr. Flintwinch 

'^tk his wry neck, of Mistress Aflcry coming and going, would be 

|*^*t>wn upon the house wall that was over the gateway, and would 

hovcr there like shadows from a great magic lantern. As the room- 

'^dden invalid settled for the night, these would gradually disappear : 

distress Affery's magnified shadoAV always flitting about, last, until it 

Mally glided away into the air, as though she were off upon a witch- 

^^eurrioiL Then the solitary light would bum unchangingly, until 

^^ burned pale before the dawn, and at last died under the breath of 

^^trcss A&jry, as her shadow descended on it from the witch-region 

of sleep. 

^hingp, if the little sick-room fire were in effoct a beacon fire, sum- 

I Ironing some one, and that the most unlikely some one in the world, to 

'-Jhc-Spot that imui be come to. Strange, if the little sick-room light 

^^tut in e£Bect a 'ViSlHSlLJight, burning in that place every night \intil ah 

appointed event should be watched out ! Which of the vast multitude 

« trayesDers, under the sun and the stars, climbing the dusty hilb and 



ISO LITTLE DOBSIT. 

lytoiling along the weary plains, journeying by land and journeying by 
llsea, coming and going so strangely, to meet and to act and re-act on 
HoSelanother, which of the host may, with no suspicion of the jouzney'i 
. 1 end, be travelling surely hither ? 

Time shall show us. The post of honor and the post of shame, the 
general's station and the drummer's, a peer's statue in Westminster 
Abbey and a seaman's hammock in the bosom of the deep, the mitre 
and the workhouse, the woolsack and the gallows, the throne and the 
guillotine — the travellers to all are on the great high^tood ; but it has 
wonderM divergences, and only Time shall show us whither each tok- 
yeller is bound. 

On a wintry afternoon at twilight, Mrs. Flintwinch, having beeo 
heavy all day, dreamed this dream : 

8he thought she was in the kitchen getting the kettle ready for tea, 
and was warming herself with her feet upon the fender and the skirt 
of her gown tucked up, before the collapsed fire in the middle of the 
grate, bordered on either hand by a deep cold black ravine. She tfaon^t 
that as she sat thus, musing upon the question, whether ^^jnit-JMl 
for some people a rather dull iaxfiDtUP> she was frightened by a sadden 
noise behind her. She thought that she had been similarly frightened 
once last week, and that the noise was of a mysterious kind— a 
sound of rustling, and of three or four quick beats like a Tarad«JtGfti 
while a shock or tremble was communicated to her heart, as ii the ston 
had shaken the floor, or even as if she had been touched by someawfbJ 
hand. She thought that this revived within her, certain old fears oi 
hers that the house was haunted ; and that she Hew up the kitchen 
stairs, without knowing how she got up, to be nearer company. 

Mistress AfTery thought that on reaching the hall, she saw the door ol 
her liege lord's office standing open, and the room empty. That she 
went to the ripped-up window, in the little room by the street door, tc 
connect her palpitating heart, through the glass, with living'thing? 
beyond and outside the haunted house. That she then saw, on the wall 
over the gateway, the shadows of the two clever ones in conversation 
above. That she then went upstairs with her shoes in her haS3^ 
partly to be near the clever ones as a match for most ghosts, and partly 
to hear what they wore talking about. 

** !None of your nonsense with mo," said Mr. Flint winch. ** I won*t 
take it from you." 

Mrs. Flintwinch dreamed that she stood behind the door, which 
was just ajar, and most distinctly hoard her husband say these bold 
words. 

** Flintwinch," returned Mrs. Clennam, in her usual strong loin 
voioo, ** there is a demon of angor in you. Guard against it." 

** I don't care whether there's ono or a dozen," said Mr. Flint- 
wiiicli, forcibly suggesting in his tone that the higher number ww 
nearer the mark. ** If there was fifty, they should all say, Nom 
of your nonsense with me, I won't take it from you. — I'd make 'em 
say it, whether they liked it or not." 

** What have I done, you wrathful man ?" her strong voice asked. 

'* Done ? " said Mr. Flintwinch. ** Dropped down upon me." 

** If you mean, remonstrated with you " 



LTrtLB DORRrr. 131 

''Doa't put words in my mouth that I don't mean/' said Jeremiah, 
stidiilf to his figoratiye expression with tenacious and impenetrable 
Mamay : " I mean dropped down upon me." 

" I lemonstrated with you," she began again, " because " 

" I iron't have it ! " cried Jeremiah. * * You dropped down upon me." 

"I dropped down upon you, then, you ill-conditioned man," 

(Jeremiah chuckled at having forced her to adopt his phrase), " for 

hating been needlessly significant to Arthur that morning. I have a 

right to complain of it as almost a breach of confidence. You did not 

mean it 

" I won't have it ! " interposed the contradictory Jeremiah, flinging 
back the concession. '' I did mean it." 

" I suppose I must leave you to speak in soliloquy if you choose," 
she replied, after a pause that seemed an angry one. '' It is useless 
ay addressing myself to a rash and headstrong old maa who has a set 
purpose not to hear me." 

" Now, I won't take that fifom you either," said Jeremiah. " I have 
00 soch purpose. I have told you I did mean it. Do you wish to 
bow why I meant it, you rash and headstrong old woman ? " 

" After all, you only restore me my own words," she said, struggling 
irith her indignation. '* Yes." 

" Hub is why, then. Bpcause you hadn't cleared his father to him, 
andjjoji ought to have done it. Because, before you went into any 

tuitrom aboutyoursclf, who are " 

" Hold there, Flintwinch ! " she cried out in a changed voice : ** you 
iW go a word too far." 

Tlte old man seemed to think so. There was another pause, and he 
had altered his position in the room, when ho spoke again more 
nfldhf : 

" I was going to tell you why it was. Because, before you took 
your own part, I thought you ought to have taken the part 
<rf Arthur's father. Arthur's father ! I had no particular love 
for Arthur's father. I served Arthur's father's uncle, in this house, 
^'hen Arthur's ^Either was not much above me — was poorer as 
^ as his pocket went — and when his uncle might as soon have 
^ft me his heir as have left him. He starved in the parlor, 'and I 
starred in the kitchen; that was the principal difference in our 
portions ; there was not much more than a flight of break-neck stairs 
^^tweoi us. I never took to him in those times ; 1 don't know that I 
*v«T took to him greatly at any time. He was an undecided, irresolute 
^^p, who had had everything but his orphan life scared out of him 
^hen he was young. Ajid when he brought you home here, the wife 
"is uncle had named for him, I didn't need to look at you twice (you 
jjere a good-looking woman at that time) to know who'd be master, 
uou have stood of your own strength ever since. Stand of your own 
•tren^tii now. Don't lean against the dead." 
"I do itot — as you call it — ^lean against the dead." 
**But you had a mind to do it, if I had submitted," growled Jere- 
J'*^, "and that's why you drop down upon mc. You can't forget that 
f didn't submit. I suppose you are astonished that I should consider 
^ worth my while to luive justice done to Arthur's lather ? Hey ? 

K 2 



•v 



/• 



132 LITTLS DORETT. 

It doesn't matter whether you answer or not, hecauBo I know yoa tre, 

and you know you are. Come, then, I'll tell you how it is. I 

•. may be a bit of an oddity in point of temper, but this is nj 

"^ temper — ^I can't let anybody have entirely their own way. Yon 

^ are a determined woman, and a clever woman ; and when you see your 

^ ' A purpose before you, nothing will turn tou from it. Who knows that 

" ^ better than I do?" 

** Nothing will turn me from it, Plintwinch, when I have justified it 
to myself. Add that.'' 

" Justified it to yourself? I said you were the most determined 
woman on the face of the eai-th (or I meant to say so), and if you 
are determined to justify any object you entertain, of course you'll 
do it." 

*' Man ! I justify myself by the authority of these Books," she cried, 
with stem emphasis, and appearing from the sound that followed to 
strike the dead- weight of her arm upon the table. 

" Never mind that," returned Jeremiah, calmly, " we won't enter 

into that question at present. 'However that may be, you carnr out 

your purposes, and you make everything go down before them. Now, 

' I won't go down beibrc them. I have been faithful to you, and usefbl 

• to you, and I am attached to you. But I can't consent, and I won't 

consent, and I never did consent, and I never will consent, to be lost 

in you. Swallow up everybody else, and welcome. The peculiarity of 

'Tfny temper is, ma'am, that I won't be swallowed up alive." 

Perhaps this had originally been the mainspring of the under- 
standing between them. Descrying thus much of force of character in 
Mr. Flintwinch, pt'rhaps Mrs. Cleimam had deemed alliance with him 
worth her while. 

** Enough and more than enough of the siilvject," said she gloomily. 

" Unless you drop down upon mc again," ivtumed the persistent 
riintwinch, ** and then you must expect to hear of it again." 

Mistress Affery dreamed that the figure of her lord here began 
walking up and down the room, as if to cool his spleen, and that she 
ran away; but that, as he did not issue forth when she had stood 
listening and trembling in the shadowy hall a little time, she crept up 
stairs again, imj)elled as before by ghosts and curiosity, and onee more 
cowered outside tlie door. 

** Please to light the candle, Flintwinch," Mrs. Clennam was 
;-uying, apparently wishing to draw him hack into their usual tone. 
•*It is nearly time for tea. Little Dorrit is coming, and will find 
mo in the dark." 

Mr. Flintwinch lighted the candle briskly, and said, as he put it 
down upon the table : 

"What arc you going to do with Little Dorrit? Is she to 
rome to work here for (?ver ? To come to tea here for ever ? To come 
backwards and forwards here, in the same way, for ever ? " 

*' How can you talk about ' for ever* to a maimed creature like mc? 
Arc we not all cut dp^^Ti like the grass of the field, and was not I 
shorn by the scythe mtmy years ago ; since when, I have l)een lying 
]iPTe. waiting to be gathered into the bam ? " 

** Aye, aye ! But since you have been Ipng here — ^not near dcttd— 



LITTLE DOKIUT. 133 

nothing like it — simibers of children and young people, bloomiug 
women, strong men, and wliat not, have been cut down and carried ; 
and still here are you, you 8e«, not much changed after all. Your 
time and mine may be a long one yet. When I say for ever, I mean 
(though I am not poetical) through all our time." Mr. Flint winch 
gave this explanation with great calmness, and calmly waited for an 
answer. 
" So long as Little Dorrit is quiet, and industrious, and stands in 
^ need of 1^ slight help I can give her, and deserves it; so long, I sup- 
pore, unless she withdraws of her o^vn act, she will continue to come 
bone, I being spared." 

"^"thing ^f^^ thrf' jj'"^:^^*' ^^^ Elintwinch, stroking his mouth 
and chin. 

"What should there be more than that! Wliat could there be 
mate than that I " she ejaculated, in her sternly wondering way. 

Mrs. Flintwinch dreamed, that, for the space of a minute or two, they 
remained looking at each other with the candle between them, and that 
tihe somehow derived an impression that they looked at each other 
fixedly. 

"Bo you happen to know, Mre. Clennam," Affery's liege lord then 
demanded in a much lower voice, and \vith an amount of expression 
^ seemed quite out of proportion to the simple piu7)08e of his words, 
" ▼here she fives ? " 

"Ko." 

"Would you — ^now, would you like to know?" said Jeremiah, with 
a pounce as if he had sprung upon her. 

" If I cared to know, I should know already. Could I not have 
asked her, any day?" 

" Then you don't care to know ? " 

"I do not." 

Mr. Flintwinch, having expelled a long significant breath, said with 
ais former emphasis, "Por I have accidentally — ^mind I — ^found out." 

"Wherever she lives," said Mrs. Clennam, speaking in one un- 
niodulatod hard voice, and separating her words as distinctly as if slij 
wore reading them off from sopai'ate bits of metal that she took up one 
"Tone, *'she has made a secret of it, and she shall always keep her 
8<H;ret from me." 

" After all, perhaps you would rather not have known the fact, any 
W?" said Jeremiad ; and he said it with a twist, as if his words had 
tome out of him in his own wry shape. 

"Flintwinch," said his mistress and partner, flashing into a sudden 
^^^rgy that made Affery start, *^why do you goad me? Look 
^ ^und this room. If it is any compensation for my long confinement 
within these naiTow limits — not that I complain of being afilicted ; you 
*^ow I never complain of that — if it is any compensation to me for my 
*^^ confinement to this room, that while I am shut up from all plca- 
Mnt change, 1 am also shut pj^Jtam-tho-knowledgc of some things that 
?.Diay prefer to avoid* knowing, why should you, of all men, grudge 
ne that relief?" 

"I don't grudge it to you," returned Jeremiah. 

"Then say no more. Say no more. Let Little Dorrit keep her 



1<H 



UTHiB DtmOT. 



h 



Bcioret tnm me, and do yoa IuH<p it from mn also. Let Iut conn: i 
go, imobsciTpd and un(]ut«tioiied. Lft me suffer, and let mc h 

(vhai iJl^'iation brlong* to my condition. Is it eo mucb, thai ; 
twnunt me likii ail vrtl spinl^' " 
' " I aslctid you u qui'stiun. That'f all." 

" I have answered it. 80, say 110 more. Say no more." ITrm 
foand of till* whffliiU thiiir wua liunnl upon Uif floor, and Afil-ry'a 1 
rang witli a hasty jork. 

More afraid of ht-r hucband at the moment than of the myHtcrioi 
Bound in thr kitchen, Affiry crppt HWoy us liglitly and as quickly 1 
sb«? cotild, dcsccndi.id the kiti:)icn stuirs almost qa rapidly uf phc T 
UBCt^nditd tlii;m, rcmimul h<:r anit hoforc tlie fire, tiii^kod up licr si 
again, and finally thn-w I11.T apron over hw litad. Then tin- bull r 
oncemun-, and Ihi-u onco mon.'. and tlien keptoDriiiKiii;;; in d«iipil« 
which importunate eununumi, AtTerj' «tili sat lichind her upruu, ivco«i 
ing her breath. 

At lust Mr. Flintwinch came shuffling down the stoircMo into t 
hall, rauttcring anil calling " AiTt^ry woman ! " all the way. ASa 
still renuiiuing hcUiiid her apron, he came stunihting domi (he kitchi 
stain, candle in htuid, sidled up to her, twitched her «praii ott, a 
TOQsed bor. 

"O Jeremiah!" cried Aifery, waking. "What a start you gave a 

"Wliat hove you betii doing, woman?" tnqoired itttm 
" You've Iahti rung for, fifty times." 

" Jeremiah," said MiKtmsN A^ry, "I h&n> bivn a-dmnningl' 

Keiuiiided of her former aeliieremcnt in that way. Ur. Flin^rii 
held the eandle to her head, as if he had some idea ftf llshtini; ker 1 
for the iltuuination of the kitchen. 

" Don't you know it's her ten-time ? " he domuided, with a ^ 
grin, and giving one i>f the legs of Mistress -Artery's chair n Iddc 

"Junmiali? Tea-time? I don't know whnt'a come to mv, Bl 
got such a dreadi^il turn. Jeremiah, before I went— off a-dnaad 
that 1 think it must be that." 

"Yoogh! 8k>epy-Hc«d!'' said Mr. FUntwineh, "what an ] 
talking ubont?" 

" 8ueh B stnmge noisi', Jcrcmiith, and «uch u curiou* momaent. 
the kitrben here — ^jnst here." 

Jen-miuh held up his light and loukeil ut the blackeui'd criling, fc 
down lus light and looked at the dump stone Uwir, turued nnind wi 
his light and looked about at the spotted and blotched walla. 

" Kats, cats, water, drains," said Jeremiah. 

Mietri-M Affcry negatived cnch with a shake of hiT htiad. " , 
Jeremiah; I hare Irlt il brforv. 1 have felt it iip-stoir*. ojid < 
on the ■taiiKBse ub 1 wus goiDK fVum her room to onre in the nig^^ 
rustle and a sort of tremhUns loueh biliind me." 

" Afieiy. my woman," said Mr. nintwinoh, grimly, altw adraneii 
hi* noHt tt> that lady'a lips as a test for the detection nf Ki' 
liijuors, " if you don't gd tej) pretty quick, old woman, you'll 
Muidblc of u nixtlr and a touch tlmt'll Mnd you flying to ibe tH 
of the kiubcn." 



-••* 



'^t 



LITTLE DOBJELTT. 185 

hasten np-stairs to Mrs. Clennam's chamber. But, for all that, shc^ ^.^ 
now b^;an to entertain a settled conviction that there was something ^ \ 
wrong in the gloomjr house. Henceforth, she was never at peace in it 
after daylight departed ; and never went up or down -stairs in the dark 
without having her apron over her head, lest she should see something. 

What with these ghostly apprehensions, and her singular dreams, 
Mrs. Flintwinch fell that evening into a haunted state of mind, from 
which it may be long before this present narrative descries any trace 
of her recovery. In the vagueness and indistinctness of all her new 
experiences and perceptions, as everything about her was mysterious 
to herself^ she began to be mysterious to otiiers ; and became as difficult 
to be made out to anybody's satdsfaction,*^ as she found the house 
and everything in it difficult to make put to her own. 

She had not yet finished preparing Mrs. Clennam's tea, when the 
soft knock came to the door which always announced Little Dorrit. 
Mistress Afiery looked on at Little Borrit taking off her homely bonnet 
in the hall, and at Mr. Plintwinch scraping his jaws and contemplating 
her in silence, as expecting some wonderful consequence to ensue 
which would frighten her out of her five wits or blow them all three 
to pieces. 

After tea, there came another knock at the door, announcing Arthur. 
Mistress AfEery went down to let him in, and he said on entering, 
" Affiery, I am glad it*s you. I want to ask you a question." 
AfTery immediately replied, ** For goodness sake don't ask me nothing, 
Arthur ! I am frightened out of one half of my life, and dreamed out 
of the other. Don't ask me nothing ! I don't know which is which 
or what is what ! " — and immediately started away from him, and 
came near him no more. 

Mistress Affery having no taste for reading, and no sufficient Hght for 
needlework in the subdued room, supposing her to have the inclination, 
now sat every night in the dimness from which she had momentarily 
emerged on the evening of Arthur Clennam's return, occupied Tsdth 
crowds of wild speculations and suspicions respecting her mistress, and 
her husband, and the noises in the house. When the ferocious devo- 
tional exercises were engaged in, these speculations would distract 
Mistress Affery' s eyes towards the door, as if she expected some dark 
form to appear at tiiose propitious moments, and make the party one 
too many. 

Otherwise, Affery never said or did anything to attract the atten- 
tion of the two clever ones towards her in any marked degree, 
except on certain occasions, generally at about the quiet hours towards 
bed-time, when she would suddenly dart out of her dim comer, and 
whisper with a face of terror, to Mr. Flintwinch reading the paper 
near Mrs. Clennam's little table : 

" There, Jeremiah ! Now ! What's that noise ! " 

Then the noise, if there were any, would have ceased, and Mr.^^ 
Flintwinch would snarl, turning upon her as if she had ctit him down 
that moment against his will, " Affery, old woman, you shall have a 
do0e, old woman, such a dose ! You have been dreaming again ! " 



136 LITTLE DOKRIT. 



CHAPTEfi XVI. 



nobody's weakness. 



The time being come for the renewal of his acquaintance with the 
Meagles family, Clcnnam, pursuant to contract made between himself 
and Mr. Meagles, within the precincts of Bleeding Heart Yard, turned 
his fuce on a certain Saturday towards Twickenham, where Mr. Meagles 
had a cottage-residence of his own. The weather being fine and dry, 
and any English road abounding in interest for him who had been so 
long away, he sent his valise on by the coach, and set out to walk. A 
walk was in itself a new enjo3rment to him, and one that had rarely 
diversified his life a&r off. 

He went by Fulham and Putney, for the pleasure of strolling over 
the heath. It was bright and shining there ; and when ho found him- 
self 80 for on his road to Twickenham, he found himself a long way on 
his road to a number of airier and less substantial destinations. They 
had risen before him fast, in the healthful exercise and the pleasant 
rood. It is not easy to walk alone in the country without musing 
upon something. And he had plenty of unsettled subjects to meditate 
upon, though he had been walking to the Land's End. 

First, there was the subject seldom absent from his mind, the 
question what he was to do henceforth in life ; to what occupation he 
should devote himself, and in what direction he had best seek it. He 
was for from rich, and every day of indecision and inaction made his 
inheritance a source of greater anxiety to him. As often as he began 
to consider how to increase this inheritance, or to lay it • by, so often 
his misgiving that there was some one with an unsatisfied claim upon 
his justice, returned; and that alone was a subject to outlast the 
longest walk. Again, there was the subject of his relations with his 
mother, which were now upon an equable and peaceful but never con- 
fidential footing, and whom he saw several times a week. Littld 
Dorrit was a loading and a constant subject : for the circumstances of 
his lil'o, united to those of her ovm story, iircsentcd the little creaturd 
to him as the only pcTson between whom and himself there were ties 
of innocent reliiuice on one hand, and aftcctionate protection on the 
other ; ties of compassion, respect, unselfish interest, gratitude, and 
I»ity. Thinking of her, and of the possibility of her father's release from 
prison by the unbarring hand of death — the only chiinge of circum- 
stance he could foresee that might enable liim to be such a friend 
to her as he wished to be, by altering her whole manner of life, 
smoothing her rough road, and giWng her a home — he regarded her, in 
that per pec'.ive, as his adopted daughter, his poor child of the Mar- 
shalsea hushed to ri'st. If there were a last subject in his thoughts, 
and it lay towards Twickenham, its form was so indefinite that it was 
little more than the pervading atmosphere in which thcsi- other subjects 
floated before nira. 



I 



LITTLE DORaiT. 137 

He had crossed tho heath and was leaving it behind, when he 
gained upon a figure which had been in advance of him for some time, 
and whichy as he gained upon it, he thought he know. He derived 
this impression from something in the turn of the head, and in the 
figure's action of consideration, as it went on at a sufficiently sturd}^ 
walk. But when the man — ^for it was a man's figure — pushed his 
hat up at the back of his head, and stopped to consider some object 
before him, he knew it to be Daniel Doyce. 

" How do you do, Mr. Doyce ? " said Clennam, overtaking him. " I 
am gkd to see you again, and in a healthier place than the Circumlo- 
cation Office." 

"Ha! Mr. MeagWs friend!" exclaimed that public criminal, 
coming out of some mental combinations he had been making, and 
offering his hand. " I am glad to see you, sir. Will you excuse me 
if I forget your name ? " 
" Bradily. It's not a celebrated name. It's not Barnacle." 
" l^'o, no," said Daniel, laughing. ** And now 1 know what it is. 
If 9 Clennam. How do you do, Mr. Clennam ?" 

"I have some hope," said Arthur, as they walked on together, that 
vemaybe going to the same place, Mr. Doyce." 

''lEcaning Twickenham?" returned Daniel. '* I am glad to 
hear it." 

They were soon quite intimate, and lightened the way with a 
Tariety of conversation. The ingenious culprit was a man of gi'cat 
modesty and good sense ; and, though a plain man, had been too much 
*xsu5tomed to combine what was original and daring in conception with 
▼hat was patient and minute in execution, to be by any means an ordi- 
'^man. It was at first difficult to lead him to speak about himself, 
and he put oft' Arthur's advances in that direction by admitting slightly, 
^ yes, he had done this, and he had done that, and such a thing 
^^ of his making, and such another thuig was his discovery, but it 
▼as his trade, you see, his trade ; until, as he gradually became assured 
"*t his companion had a real interest in his account of himself, he 
^Hy yielded to it. Then it appeared that he was the son of a north- 
country blacksmith, and had originally been apprenticed by his 
^dowed mother to a lock-maker; that he had ** stiiick out a few 
"ttle things " at the lock-maker's, which had led to his being released 
^m his indentures with a present, wliich present had enabled him to 
patify big ardent wish to bind himself to a working engineer, under 
whom he had labored hard, learned hard, and lived hard, seven years, 
-^time being out, he bad ** worked in the shop " at weekly wages 
*ven or eight years more ; and had then betaken himself to the 
r"^ of the Clyde, where he had studied, and file J, and hammered, and 
^Diproved his knowledge, theoretical and practical, for six or seven years 
*ore. There he had had an offer to go to Lyons, which he had 
^**«ptcd; and from Lyons had been engaged to go to Germany, 
^ in Grermany had had an offer to go to St. Petersburg, and there had 
"*fi very well indeed — never better. However, he had naturally felt a 
P'^faeiicefor his own country, and a wish to gain distinction there, and 
todowhatovcr service he could do, there rather than elsewhere. And 
>o he had come home. And so at home he had established himself in 



^t 



138 LITTLE DOBAIT. 

biuincssy and had invented and executed, and worked his way on, until, 
after a dozen years of constant suit and service, he had been 
enrolled in the Great British Legion of Honor, the Legion of the 
Bebuffed of the Circumlocution Office, and had been decorated with 
the great British Order of Merit, the Order of the Disorder of the 
Barnacles and Stiltstalkings. 

'' It is much to be regretted," said Clennam, " that you ever turned 
your thoughts that way, Mr. Doyce/* 

'^ True, sir, true to a certain extent. But what is a man to do? 
If he has the misfortune to strike out something serviceable to the 
nation, he must follow where it leads him." 

*< Hadn't he better let it go? " asked Clennam. 

** He can't do it," said Doyce, shaking his head with a thoaghtfa] 
smile. ** It's not put into his head to be buried. It's put into hif 

Qhead to be made useful. You hold your life on the condition that to 
the last you shall struggle hard for it. Every man holds a discovery 
on the same terms." 

" That is to say," said Arthur, with a growing admiration of hif 
quiet companion, ^' you are not finally discouraged even now ? " 

** I have no right to be, if I am," returned the other. The thing 
is as true as it ever was." 

When they had walked a little way in silence, Clennam, at once to 
change the cQrect point of their conversation and not to change it too 
abruptly, asked Mr. Doyce if he had any partner in his busineesy to 
relieve him of a portion of its anxieties ? 

**No," he returned, '* not at present. I had when I first entered on 
it, and a good man he was. But he has been dead some years ; and as I 
could not easily take to the notion of another when I lost him, 1 
bought his share for myself and have gone on by myself ever since. 
And here's another thing," ho said, stopping for a moment with » 
good-humoured laugh in his eyes, and laying his closed right hand, 
with its peculiar suppleness of thumb, on Clennam's arm, " nc 
^>^ inventor can be a man of business, you know." 

''No?" said Clennam. 

** Why, so the men of business say," he answered, resuming the wall 
and laughing outright. ^* I don't know why we unfortunate creaturei 
should Im* supposed to want common sense, but it is generally taken foi 
grant(Kl that we do. Even the best friend 1 have in the world, oui 
excellent friend over yonder," said Doyce, nodding towards Twicken- 
ham, ** extends a sort of protection to me, don't you know, as a max 
not quite able to take care of himself? " 

Arthur Clennam could not help joining in the good-himioured laugh 
for he recognised the truth of the desciiption. 

" So I find that I must have a partner who is a man of business am 
not guilty of any inventions," said Daniel Doyce, taking off his hat U 
pass liis hand over his forehead, *Mf it's only in deference to th( 
current opinion, and to ui)hold the credit of the Works. 1 don't thin] 
he'll find that I have been vi»ry remiss or confused in my way of con 
ducting them ; but that's for him to say — whoever he is — not for me.' 

*^ You have not chosen him yet, then ? " 

** No, sir, no. I have only just come to a decision to take one. Tbt 



LITTLE DOBRIT. 139 

fact is, there's more to do than there used to be, and the Works are 
enough for me as I grow older. What with the books and correspondence, 
and foreign joumies for which a Principal is necessar^^ I can^t do all. 
I am going to talk o^er the best way of negociating the matter, if I 
find a spare half-hour between this and Monday morning, with my — 
my l^nrse and protector," said Doyce, with laughing eyes, again. ''He 
is a sagacious man in business, and has had a good apprenticeship 
to it." 

After this, they conyorsed on different subjects until they arrived at 
their journey's end. A composed and unobtrxisive self-sustaonment was 
noticeable in jyaniel Doyce — a calm knowledge that what was true 
mnst remain true, in spite of aU the Barnacles in the family ocean, 
and would be just the truth, and neither more nor less, when even that 
sea had run diy — ^which had a kind of greatness in it, though not of the 
official quality. 

As he knew the house well, he conducted Arthur to it by the way 
that showed it to the best advantage. It was a charming place (none 
the worse for being a little eccentric), on the road by the river, and just 
what the residence of the Meagles family ought to bo. It stood in a 
garden, no doubt as fresh and beautiful in the May of the year, as Pet 
now was in the May of her life ; and it was defended by a goodly show 
of handsome trees and spreading evergreens, as Pet was by Mr. and 
Mrs. Meagles. It was made out of an old brick house, of which a part 
had been altogether pulled down, and another part had been changed*" ' 
into the present cottage ; so there was a hale elderly portion, to 
represent Mr. and Mrs. Meagles, and a young picturesque, verj' pretty 
portion^ to represent Pet. There was even the later addition of a con- 
servatory sheltering itself against it, imcertain of hue in its deep 
stained ^ass, and in its more transparent portions flashing to the sun^s 
nys, now like fire and now like harmless water drops ; which might 
^ve stood for Tattycoram. Within view waTIhe peaceful river 
^ the ferry-boat, to moralise to all the inmates, saying : Young or 
^ passionate or tranquil, chafing or content, you, thus runs the 
^^^^Jiteni always. Let the heart swell into what discord it will, thus 
P^ya the rippling water on the prow of the ferrj'-boat ever the same 
^t-'. Year after year, so much allowance for the drifting of the 
w^t, BO many miles an hour the flowing of the stream, here the 
'^^^lieB, there the lilies, nothing uncertain or uiuiuiet, upon this 
^^ that steadily runs away ; while you, upon j-our flowing road of 
^p, are so capricious and distracted. 

The bell at the gate had scarcely sounded when Mr. Meagles came 
?yt to receive them. Mr. Meagles had scarcely come out, when Mrs. 
•^<^lc8 came out. Mrs. Meagles had scarcely come out, when Pet 
^<^ out. Pet had scarcely come out, when Tattycoram came out. 
•^^cver bad visitors a more hospitable reception. 

**Here we are, you see," said Mr. Meagles, ** boxed up, Mr. Clen- 
^**5i, within our own home-limits, as if we were never going to expand 
"^that is, travel — again. Not like Marseilles, eh ? !No allonging and 
I'MioiigiDg here ? " 

'* A different kind of beauty, indeed I " said Clennam, looking about 
hbt 



I 



^ 



140 LirriiE DORUiT. 

** But, Lord bless mc ! '' cried Mr. Meogles, rubbing bis hands with 
a relish, " it was on uncommonly pleasant tiling being in qq^aBtiBr, 
wasn't it ? Do you know, I have often wished myself back again ? 
We were a capital party." 

This was Mr. Meagles's invariable habit. Always to object to every- 
thing while ho was travelling, and always to wont to get buck to it 
when he was not travelling. 

** If it was summer-time," said Mr. Meagles, " which I wish it was 
on your account, and in order that you might see the place at its best, 
you would hardly be able to hear yourself speak for birds. Being pmc- 
tjc ^al p eople, we never allow anybody to scare the birds ; and the birds, 
being practical people too, come about us in myriads. We are delighted 
to see you, Clennam (if you'll allow me, I shall drop the Mister) ; I 
heartily assure you, wo are delighted." 

''I have not had so pleasant a greeting," said Clennam — then he 
recalled what Little Dorrit had said to him in his o^m room, and £iith- 
Mly added ** except once — since we last walked to and fro, looking 
down at the Mediterranean." 

*' Ah ! " returned Mr. Meagles. ** Something like a look out, tM 
was, wasn't it ? I don't want a military government, but I shouldn't 
mind a little aUonging and marshonging — just a dash of it — ^in this 
neighbourhood sometimes. It's De\'ilish still." 

Bestowing this eulogium on the retired character of his retreat 
with a dubious shake of the head, Mr. Meagles led the way into the 
house. It was just larj^e enough, and no more ; was as pretty within 
as it was without, and was perfectly well-arranged and comfortable. 
Some traces of the migrator}' habits of the family were to be obsen^ed 
in the covered frames and furniture, and wrapj)ed-up hangings ; but 
it was easy to see that it was on(^ of Mr. Mcaj^les's wliinis to have the 
cottage always kept, in their al>sence, as if they were always coming 
back the day after to-morrow. Of articles collected on his various 
expeditions, there was such a vast miscellany that it was like th^ 
dwelling of an amiable Corsair. There were antiquities fix)ni C<»ntral 
Italy, made by the best modern houses in that department of industr}*; 
bits of mummy from Egypt (and perhaps Birmingliam) ; model gon- 
dolas from Venice ; model villages from Switzerland ; morsels of 
tessellated pavement from Heix^ulaneuni and Pompi'ii, like petrified 
minced veal ; ashes out of tombs, and lava out of Vesuvius ; Spanish 
fans, Spezzian straw hats, Moorish slippers, Tuscim hair-pins, Carrara 
sculpture, Trastaverini scanes, Genoese velvets and filagree, Neapo- 
litan coral, lioman cameos, Geneva jewellery, Arab lanterns, rosaries 
blest all round by the Pojk* himself, and an infinite vaiiety of lumber. 
There were Wews, like and unlik(», of a multitude of places ; and then* 
was one little pictun»-room devoted to a few of tlie n*gular sticky old 
Saints, with sinews like whipcord, hair like Neptune's, \^Tinkles like 
tattooing, and such coats of varnish that v^vry holy persomige Borvt-d 
for a fly-tnij), and became what is now called in the vulgar tongue a 
Catch-em-alive 0. Of these pictorial ac(iuisitions Mr. Meagles 8]x>ke in 
the usual manner. He was no judge, he said, (wcept of what pleased 
himself; he had picked them up, dirt-cheap, and people lutd eouKidered 
them nither fine. One man, who at any rate ought to know something 



LirrLB DORRIT. 141 

of the subject, had declared that " Sage, Reading" (a specially oily old 
gentleman in a blanket, with a swan's-down tippet for a beard, and a 
web of cracks all over him like rich pie-crust), to be a fine Guercino. 
As for Sebastian del Fiombo there, you would judge for yourself; if it 
TTCTO not his later manner, the question was. Who was it ? Titian, 
that might or might not be— perhaps he had only touched it. Daniel 
Doyce said perhaps he hadn't touched it, but Mr. Meagles rather 
declined to oyerhear the remark. 

When he had shown all his spoils, Mr. Meagles took them into his rA 
own snug room overlooking the lawn, which was fitted up in part like * '^ 
a dressing-room and in part like an ofiice, and in which, upon a kind 
of connter-desk, were a pair of brass scales for weighing gold, and a 
scoop for shovelling out paj^ey. 

" Here they are, you see/ * said Mr. Meagles. " I stood behind 
these two articles five-and-thirty years running, when I no more 
thought of gadding about than I now think of — staying at home. 
When I left the Bank for good, I asked for them, and brought them 
away with me. I mention it at once, or you might suppose that I sit 
in my countiag-house (as Pet says I do), like the king in the poem of 
the four-and-twenty blackbirds, counting out my money.'' 

Clennom's eves had strayed to a natural picture on the wall, of two 
prethr little girls with their arms entwined. " Yes, Clennam," said 
Mr. Meagles in a lower voice. '^ There they both are. It was taken 
some seventeen years ago. As I often say to Mother, they were babies 
then." 
" Their names ? " said Arthur. 

" Ah, to be sure ! You have never heard any name but Pet. Pet's 
name is Minnie; her sister's, Lillie." 

''Should you have known, Mr. Clennam, that one of them was 
meant for me? " asked Pet herself, now standing in the doorway. 

" I might have thought that both of them were meant for you, both 
oy still so like you. Indeed," said Clennam, glancing from the fair 
original to the picture and back, *' I cannot even now say which is not 
your portrait." 

"D'ye hear that. Mother?" cried !Mr. Meagles to his wife, who had 
followed her daughter. ** It's ulways the same, Clennam; nobody can 
decide. The child to your left is Pet." 

The picture happened to be near a looking-glass. As Arthur looked 
*tit again, he saw, by the reflection of the mirror, Tattj'coram stop in; 
Pawing outside the door, listen to what was going on, and pass away 
J^ith an angry and contemptuous frown upon her face that changed its 
"^•auty into ugliness. 

/'But come ! " said Mr. Meagles. " You liave had a long walk, and" 
T^ be glad to get your boots off. As to Daniel here, I suppose 
J^*^'d never think of taking ///> boots off, unless we showed him a 
boot.jack." 
*' Why not ? " asked Daniel, with a significant smile at Clennam. 
"Oh! You have so many things to think about," returned Mr. 
^^^les, clapping him on the shoulder, as if his weakness must 
iiutbc left to Itself on any account. '* Figures, and wheels, and cogs, 
**d levers, and screws, and cylinders, and a thousand things." 



i 



142 LTTTLE DOBBIT. 

''In my calling/' said Daniel, amused, ''the greater usuallj 
includes the less. But ncyer mind, never mind ! THiateyer pleases 
you, pleases me." 

Clennam could not help speculating, as he seated himself in his 
room by the fire, whether there might be in the breast of this 
honest, affectionate, and cordial Mr. Meagles, any microsoopio portion 
of the mustard-seed that had sprung up into the great tree of the 
lOircumlocution Office. His curious sense of a general superiority to 
Daniel Doyce, which seemed to bo founded, not so much on anything* 
in Doyce* s personal character, as on the mere fiEu;t of his bemg an. 
originator and a man out of the beaten track of other men, suggested^ 
the idea. It might have occupied him until he went down fo dinner— 




an hour afterwards, if he had not had another question to consider, 
which had been in his mind so long ago as before he was in quazantu 
at Marseilles, and which had now returned to it, and was very ui|pen1 
with it. "No less a question than this : Whether he should 
Vhimself to fall in love with Pet ? 

He was twice her age. (He changed the leg he had oroflsed 
the other, and tried the calculation again, but could not bring out th». 
total at less.) He was twice her age. WeU! He was young 
appearance, young in health and strength, young in heart. A mac:. 
was certainly not old at forty; and many men were not in circumstanc 
to marry, or did not marry, until they attained that time of life. 
the other hand, the question was, not what he thought of the poin^. 
but what she thought of it. 

He believed that Mr. Meagles was disposed to entertain a ri| zw -Mp< 
regard for him, and he knew that he had a sincere rq^ard for 
Meagles and his good wife. He could foresee that to relinquish 
beautiful only child, of whom they were so fond, to any huBban». 

would be a trial of their love which perhaps they never yet had 

the fortitude to contemplate. But the more beautiful and winniiaci-Km^ 
and charming she, the nearer they must always be to the nccessitv' ^V ^ 
approaching it. And why not in his favor, as well as in another's r 
' When he had got so far, it came again into his head, that IDi^^^tii 
Ijuestion was, not what they thought of it but what she thought of : ^* ^^ 

Arthur Clennam was a retiring man, with a sense of many deficienci^^-^-*^ 

and he so exalted the nii'rits of the beautiful Minnie in his mind, tur m-^JO^ 

depressed his own, that when he pinned himself to this point, his hopc^t^'P! 

. began to fail him. He came to the final resolution, as he made himug g^-^ 

ready for dinner, that he would not allow himself to fall in love with P^'^-*^^ 

They were only five, at a round table, and it was very 
indeed. They had so many places and people to recal, and they w&^ 
all so easy and cheerful together (Daniel Doyce either sitting out lij 
an amused spectator at cards, or coming in with some shrewd lit^: 
experiences of his own, when it happened to be to the purpose), 
they might have been together twenty times, and not have known 
much of one another. 

"And Miss Wade," said Mr. Meagles, after they had recallc 
number of fellow-travellers. '* Has anybody seen Miss Wade? " 

" I have,'* said Tattycoram. 

She had brought a little mantle which her young mistress had 




i 



IJTFLB DOBETT. 143 

far, and was bending oyer her, putting it on, when she lifted up her 

dark eyes, and made this unexpected answer. 
" Tatty ! " her young mistress exclaimed. " You seen Miss Wade ? 

-where?" 
" Here, MifiB," said Tattycoram. 
"How?" 
An impatient glance from Tattycoram seemed, as Clcnnam saw it, 

to answer *' With my eyes ! " But her only answer in words was : "I 

met her near the church." 
" What was she doing there I wonder ! " said Mr. Mcagles. " Not 

going to it, I should thmk." 
** She had written to me first," said Tattycoram. 

r"»t>h, Tatty ! " murmured her mistress, " take your hands away. I 

[feel as if some one else was touching me ! " 
sne said it in a quick involuntary way, but half playfully, and not 

Bore [petulantly or disagreeably than a favourite child might have 

done, who laughed next moment. Tattycoram set her fuU red lips 

together, and crossed her arms upon her bosom. 
" Did you wish to know, sir," she said, looking at Mr. Mcagles, 

*^ wbat lOss Wade wrote to me about ? " 
"Well, Tattycoram," returned Mr. Mcagles, "since you ask the 

question, and we are all friends here, perhaps you may as well mention 
it, if yon are so inclined." 

" She knew, when wc were travelling, where you lived," said Tatty- 
coram, " and she had seen me not quite — ^not quite " 

"Not quite in a good temper, Tattycoram?" suggested Mr. Meaglcs, 
shaking his head at the dark eyes with a quiet caution. " Take a Httlo 
time— -ooont five-and-twenty, Tattycoram." 

She pressed her lips together again, and took a long deep breath. 
r"8o she wrote to me to say that if I ever felt myself hurt," she 
ttked down at her young mistress, *'or found myself worried," she 
< ttDl^d down at her again, '' I might go to her, and be considerately 
lested. I was to tlonk of it, and could speak to her by the church, 
jolwent tiiiere to thank her." 

/^•ftitty," said her young mistress, putting her hand up over her 
WPolder that the other might take it, ** Miss Wade almost frightened 
'^wken we parted, and I scarcely liked to think of her just now as 
«i?ing |)een so near me without my knowing it. Tatty, dear ! " 
Tatty stood for a moment, immovable. 

"Hey?" cried Mr. Mcagles. ** Count another five-and-twenty, 
Tattycoram." 

She might have counted a dozen, when she bent and put her lips to 
^caressing hand. It patted hej# cheek, as it touched the owner's 
**autilbl curls, and Tattycoram went away. 

*' Kow, there," said Mr. Meagles, softly, as he gave a turn to the dumb- 
^ter on his right hand, to twirl the sugar towards himself. ** There's " 
^ ^ who might be lost and ruined, if she wasn't among practical t < 
P^le. Mother and I know, solely from being practical, that there ^ 
^"^ times when that girl's whole nature seems to roughen itself against 
f***ng us so bound up in Pet. No father and mother were bound up 
^^her, poor souL I don't like to think of the way in which that unfor- 



L 



144 UTTLB nOUtlT. 

tuuato child, wilb all that pnssion and protest in her, fci-la wheu •! 
hears the Fifth Commasdnu'iit on u Suiidiiy. 1 am olwaj-H inoUnul 
cull out, Chnrch, Count fivp-and-twcnty, Tnttycorain." 

Bceides hie dumb-waiter. Mr. Mtaglcs hud two othor not dna 
wuitcra, in the persons of two parlor-Diaidn, with rotiy faces nnd bri)^ 
CTOB, who wpru a highly omamcnlal part of tho table dcvontiQ 
" And why not, you fee? ' said Mr, Meagba, on this I«iul. " Ai 
always «iy to Mother, why not havo somL'thing protty tu look ut, tf y 
h.ife nnything nt all ?" 

A cfrtaiu Mrs. Titkit, who was Cook und Houst-kivpor when ll 
farailv wert' at homo, and Housi-koepit only wh<'n the family were a 
i-umpu-ted the cstahliahment. ^Ir. Mca){le8 regretled thnt the nt 
of tile duties in which she was engaged, rendered Mrs. Ticltit ni 
sentnhic at present, but hoped to introduce Klt to the new vi 
to-morrow, i^be was an importaiit port of tho cottnge, bt- fuiid, and I 
hia fiiendn knew her. That was her picture up in tip eomer. "Whi 
they went away, ahe always put on the silk gown and the jet-blaek r 
of eurls roprcBcnted in that portrait [her hair was reddish-grey in I 
kitchen), established herself in the bre«kiast-rooni. put her speetiw 
hitween two portjeulnr leuvea of Doctor Buchon's Domestic Medieii 
nnd sut looking over the blind all day until they came linck iigain. 
WHS suppoeed that no persuasion eould he inrented which would indu 
3Irs. Tiekit to abandon her post at the blind, howeior long du 
abii'nce, or to dispense with the attendance of Doctor Buehu : li 
lueuhrations of wliich learned prnetitioner, Mr, Meoglos implicit 
believed »he had never yet consulted to the extent of one wwd 
her life. 

In the evening, they played un old-fushioned ruhber; and Ptt i 
looking over her fethrr's hand, or singing to herself by fits and stu 
at tho piano. She was a spoilt child ; hut how eould she bo olh< 
vise? niio eould be much u~ith so pliable and bcautif\tl 
CTPature, and not yield to her endearing influence ? Who eoiild pi 
un evening in the house, and not love her for the gruee and charm 
her very presence in the room? This was Clenniuu's n'Sectioii, tu 
withstanding the final eoncluuon at which he had arrived up-8tair>. 

In making it, ho revoked. " Why, what are you thinking of, t 
good oir?" o^ked the astonished Mr. Menglos, who was hi* pVtBl 
" [ beg j-our pardon. Nothing," returned Clennam. "Think 
■mniethinp, next time ; that's a dear fellow," said Mr. Menglc*. f 
laughingly licUeved he had been thinking of Sfiss Wade. " Wlir 
Ui«a Wade. Pet?" asked her father. "Why, indeed!" said AiOi 
Clennam. Pet colon^d a little, aud went to the piano af^in. 

As they broke up for the nighti Arthur overheard Doyen ask 1 
host if he could giie him half-an-hoiir's conversation bcfont bmikfi 
in the morning ? The ho»t replying willingly. .Vrthur lingered bdri 
o moment, lui-ing his own word to idd on that topic. 

" Mr. Heagles," be said, on their being left ulone, "doyoun.'nvml 
when you ad\-ised me to go Htraight to liundon? " 

" Perfectly well," 
' And » hen yon giivp wf wrae other good ndvice, which I 



UTTLE DORRIT. 1^5 

* * I woa*t say \\'bat it was worth," answered Mr. Mcaglcs ; ** but of 
oourve I remember our being very pleasant and confidential togctber." 

"I bave acted on your advice ; and baving discmbaiTassed myself of 
in occapation tbat was painiul to mc for many rcasouR, wisb to devote 
myBclf and wbat means I bave, to anotber pursuit." 

** Eigbt ! You can't do it too soon," said Mr. Meagles. 

* • IfoWy as I camo down to-day, I found tbat your friend, Mr. Doyce, 
is looking for a partner in bis business — ^not a partner in bis mecbanical 
loLO'^lcdgey but in tbc ways and means of turning tbc business arising 
from it to the best account." 

'< Just so," said Mr. Meagles, witb bis bands in bis pockets, and 
idth the old business expression of face tbat bad belonged to the scales 
tnd scoop. 

" Mr. Doyce mentioned incidentally, in tbc course of our conversa- 
tion, that he was going to take your valuable advice on the subject of 
finding such a partner. If you should tliink our views and opportunities 
It all likely to coincide, perhaps you will let bim know my available 
^tion. I speak, of course, in ignorance of the details, and they may 
be unsuitable on both sides." 

"No doubt, no doubt," said Mr. Meagles, witb the caution belong- 
mg to the scales and spoop. 

" But they will be a question of figures and accounts " 

"Just so, just so," said Mr. Meagles, witb the arithmetical solidity 
bdongmg to tbc scales and scoop. 

"—And I shall be glad to enter into the subject, provided Mr. Doyce 
'csponds, and you think well of it. If you will at present, therefore, 
•How me to place it in your hands, you "will much oblige me." 

"Oennam, I accept the trust witb rcjidiness," said Mr. Mcaglcj*. 
"And, without anticipating any of the points which you, as a man of 
^'^ness, have of course reserved, I am free to say to you that I think 
•wnething may come of this. Of one thing you may be perfectly 
certain. Daniel is an honest man." 

'' I am so sure of it, tbat I have promptly made up mv mind to 
■peak to you." 

** You must guide him, you know ; you mu^t steer him ; you must 
^^'^tbim ; be is one of a crotchetty sort," said Mr. Meagles, ovidently 
"**^«Unng nothing more than that be did new things and went new 
^ys ; '* but be is as honest as the sim, and so good night ! " 

Clennam went back to his room, sat down again before bis fire, 
?^ made up his mind that he was glad be had resolved not to fall in 
IJI^o with Pet- She was so beautiful, so amiable, so apt to receive any 
"^^i impression given to her gentle nature and her innocent heart, and ^ 
J^kc the man who should be so happy as to communicate it, the most 
^'■^Unate and enviable of all men, that hi was vciy glad indeed be had 
^*?^o to that conclusion. 

«Ut, as this might have been a reason for coming to the opposite 
^^olusion, bo followed out tluj theme again a little way in bis mind. 
^^ Justify himself, perhaps. 

* Suppose tbat a man," so bis thoughts ran, ** who had been of ago 
**^© twenty years or so ; who was a diffident man, from the circum- 
*^**U!ei of bis youth ; who was rather a grave man, from the tenor of 



lis ^^^^^^ 

. in many little engagi 
I having biwa lung la 
^istant region, ^vith nothing aoftaning n^ar him ; who h^d no Id 
leisters to present to her ; n'fao had no con^nial faoma to make b 
Iknown in ; who was a strangrr in the land ; who liad not a fortune 
compensate, in any rocasurc, for the»c dcftcta ; trho had nothing in 1 
favor hut hija honest love and his gcni^ wish to do right — suppose m 
a man ifitc to come to this hoiue, and were to yield to tlui ca| 
ration of this chonmng ^rl, and were to pcrsaado hinisvlf Uiot 
could hope to win her ; what a weakness it would be ! " 

He Boftlj opened his window, and looked out upon the sereBr m 
Year ailer year so much allowance for the driiting of the forry-boat, 
many miles an hour the flowing of the stream, hero the rusT 
thci Ulies, nothing uncertain or unqnict. 

Why should ht- be vesed or sore at heart ? It was not his 
thftthc hod tinHginud. It was nobody's, nobody's within his 
ledge, why should tl trouble him ? AJod yet it did trouble him, 
. he thought — who han nut thought for a moment, sometimes — fltat 
might ho better to llow uway monotonously, liko the river, and 
compound for its insensibility to happiness with its inscudbilitj 
pain. 



CHAPTES XVn. 
sobodt's eital. 



I 



Bkpome breakfast iu the morning, Arthur wnlkod out to look s 
him. As tliL' nioruuig wiu fine, and he hud an hour on liia hand) 
crossed the river by llie feny, and strolled along a footpath t 
some mcndowH. When he oame hack to the towing-path, be Dm 
the tbrry-hoat on the opposite side, and n gontluman bailing it i 
waiting to be token ovit. 

This gentleman loukod hurcly thirt}'. He wits well dri-sard, a 
sprightly luid gay uppeurauce, a wt-ll-kiut figure, unil u riuh dark eo 
plexion. As Arthur oume owt the stile and down to the watt 
edge, the lounger glauut-d at him for a moment, and then resumed 1 
occupattDD of idly tossing stones into the water with his foot, "n 
WKs sonit'thing in his wuy of spuming them out of thi-ir plnom i 
his huel, niul getting tliom into4hu required position, that Ch 
thought had nn aii^niUcQii^' in it. Most of lis havi- mure t 
&«<)iieutly di'riviHl u siiuiW uupresoion. from a nuui's muoner of 
sonu' very liltle thing : pluukiuf; a flower, clearing nwmy an 6. 
or evon destiuyiitg an inM-ntiaut object. 

The gentleman's tbnu^hta vltv preoconpied, as his faoe 
and ho t^Kih no notice of a fine Newniuudland dog, who watefand 
■Ucnlivuly, and watched irviTT stone too, in it* turn, 
' ' ig hit iHHtMr'a aigK. 'Xlw 



LITTLE DOKBIT. 147 

?T^i however, without his recei\'in«j any sijni, and when it grounded 
^^ master took him by the collar and walked him into it. 
, ■' Not this morning," he said to the dog. ** You won't do for 
^^^ieB* compaiiY, dripping wet. Lie down." 

dpmnnm foUowed the man and the dog into the boat, and took his 
^^at The dog did as he was ordered. The man remained standing, 
'^v^ifii ]iu hands in his pockets, and towered between Clcnnam and the 
pxweet. Man and dog both jumped lightly out as soon a» they 
tcmdbed Hie other side, and went away. Clcmiam was glad to be rid 
of them. 

!nieiohiirch dodc struck the breakfast hour, as ho walked up the 
little lane by which the garden-gate was approached. Tlio moment 
hft poDod Hie bell, a deep loud barking assailed him from within the 

" I heaard no dog last night," thought Clennam. The gate was 
opisned bj one of the rosy maids, and on the lawn were the Newfound- 
land dog and the man. 

" Hiaa Minnie is not down yet, gentlemen," said the blushing per- 
treai^ aa they all came together in the garden. Th(*n she said to the 
master of the dog, " Mr. Clennam, sir," and tripped away. 

'' Odd enoi;^^ Mr. Clennam, that we should have met just now," 
^aid the man. TTpon which the dog 1)ecamc niuto. '' Allow nie tO(' 
introduce myself— ^fenry Gowan. A pretty place tliis, and looks won- ' 
derliilly wdl thia morning ! " 

The manner was easy, and the voice agreeable ; but still Clennam 
tibought, that if he had not made that decided resolution to avoid. 
fidling in lore with Pet, ho would have taken a dislike to this Henr}- 
Gowan. 

" It*a new to yon, I believe ? " said this Gowan, when Arthiur had. 
extolled the place. 

" Quite new. I made acquaintance with it only yesterday 
afternoon. 

" Ah ! Of course this is not its best aspect. It u»»ed to look 
charming in the spring, before they Avent awuy last time. I should 
like yon to have seen it then." 

But for that resolution so often recalled, Clennam might have 
wished him in the crater of Mount Etna, in return for this civility. 

"I hare bad the pleasure of seeing it under many circumstances 
daring the last three years, and it's — a Paradise." 

It was (at least it might have been, always excepting for that wise 
resolution) like his dcxtc-rous impudence to call it a Paradise, He 
only called it a Paradise biKjause he lirst saw her coming, and so made 
her out within her hearing to be an angel, Confusion to him ! 

And ah, how beaming she looked, and how f;lad I How she 
eazessed the dog, and how the dog knew her ! How cxprossive thiit 
heightened color in her face, that fiuttertd nianucr, her downcast eyes, 
her irresolute happiness ! When had Clennam scon her look like this ? 
Xot that there was any reason why he might, could, would, or should 
have ever seen her look like this, or that ho hud over hoped for hinisolf 
to see her look like this; but still — wlicn had ho over known^hor 
doit! 



146 UTTLK DOHRIT. 

He Hload at a Uttlo distance from them. This (Jowon, vhcn ho li 
talked about a Paradise, hod goni' up to her and tAken her band. 1 
dog had put his grtat paws on her arm and laid his head agninst I 
rlf ar bosom. She had laughed and welcomed them, and made for ' 
much of the dog, fiir, for, too much — that is to say, Bupposing th 
had been any third person looking on who loved her. 

She disengaged herself now, and came to Clennam, and put 
hand in bis and wished him good morning, and gracefully mode aa 
she would take his arm and be escorted into the houi>c. Xhts Gov 
had no objection. No, he knew he was too safe. 

There woa a passing cloud on Mr. Meagles's good-hmamiFejJk 
when they nil three (four, counting the dog, and he was llu) ta 
objectionable bat one of the party) come in to breakfast. Ifeitb«r 
nor the tau£Jx.of uncasinrAs on Un. Alcogles as she directed her ■{ 
towards it, was unobserved by Clennam. 

" Well, Gowan," auid Mr. Meagles, even suppressing a righ; "II 
goes the world with you this morning?" 

" Much OS usual, sir. Lion and I being determined not to 
anything of our weekly viut, turned out early, and came over fv 
Kuigston, my present head -quarters, where I am making a sketdl 
two." Then he told bow he hod met Mr. Clennam at the feny, " 
they had come over together. 

"Mrs.Gowunitwell,UeDry?" saidMFS.Heaglcs. (Cloa&an boc 
attcnti\-e.) 

" My mother is quite well, thank you." (Clc^nnam bceamo i 
t«ntive.) " 1 have taken the liberty of making an addition to y 
family dinner-party to-day, which 1 hope will not be inconvmi 
to you or to Mr. Meagles. I couldn't very well get out of it," 
cxplaiccd. turning to the latter. " The young fellow wrote 
propose Imuficlf to me ; nnd aa he is well connected, 1 tliought 
would not object to my transferring him here." ^ 

"Who w the young fellow?" asked Mr. Meagles, with pcciil 
complacency, 

" Ho is one of the Barnacles. Titc Barnacle's son. Clarcuoo B 
who is in his father's Department. I con at least RUonu 
that the river shall not suffer from his visit. He won't wt it 

" Aye, aye?" sjiid Meagles. " \ Barnacle is he? ffV know acM 
tiling of that family, eh Don ? By George, they are at tlie top of 
tree, ihougli! Let me sec. What relation will tliis young f«t 
be to Lord Deeimus now ? His Lordship married, in seventeen! niai 
seven. Lady Jemima Bilberry, who was tlko second dangblur by 
tliird marriage — no ! There I am wrong ! Tlmt wns Lady Scanpti 
— Lndv Jemima was the first daughter by the second marriuip! of 
Ofteeiith Karl of Stiltstolking with The Honourable Clemcnl 
TooauUem. Very well. Now this youug fellow's father man 
a Still*taiking and kit fatlier married Ids ceusin who was k I 
nocle. The father uf that fatlier who married a Buiu 
married n Joddleby. — I am getting a little too for back, Ocm 
I i^aut to make out what relation this young fellow ii to I 
Decunns." ^ 



LITTLB DOERIT. 149 

" That* s easily stated. His fatlior is nephew to Lord Decimus." 
"Nephew — to— Lord — ^Decimus/' Mr. Meagles lumLriously repeated 
ith his eyes shut, that he might have nothing to distract him from 
'ft.he full flavor of the genealogical tree. " By George, you are right, 
C3owan. So he is." 

** Consequently, Lord Decimus is his great uncle." 
"But stop a hit ! " said Mr. Meagles, opening his eyes with a fresh 
ificovery. *' Then, on the mother's side. Lady Stiltstalking is his 

t aunt." 
" Of course she is." 

"Aye, aye, aye?" said Mr. Meagles, with much interest. " In- 
deed, indeed ? We shall he glad to see him. We'll entertain hiTT> as 
^^vell as we can, in our humhle way ; and we shall not starve him, I 
<me, at all events." 
In the heginning of this dialogue, Clennam had expected some 
hannless outhurst from Mr. Meagles, like that which had made him 
out of the Circumlocution Office, holding Doyce by the collar. 
Tit his good friend had a wealmess which none of us need go into 
be next street to find, and which no amount of Circumlocution expo- 
*cnce could long subdue in him. Clennam looked at Doyce ; but 
-L'^yyoe knew all about it beforehand, and looked^ at his plate, and 
xxxade no sign, and said no word. 

" I am much obliged to you," said Gowan, to conclude the subject. 
* * Clarence is a great ass, but he is one of the dearest and best fcllowp 
tLliat ever lived!" 

It appeared, before the breakfast was over, that everybody whom this 

^owan knew was either more or less of an ass, or more or less of a knave; 

'^O.twas, notwithstanding, the most lovcable, the most engaging, the sim- 

■plcst, truest, kindest, dearest, best fellow that ever lived. The process 

^>^ which this unvarying result was attained, whatever the premises, 

^>ight have been stated by Mr. Henry Gowan thus : *' I claim to 

"^ always book-keeping, with a peculiar nicety, in ever}- man's 

^%c, and posting up a careful little account of Good and Evil with 

^xn, I do this so conscientiously, that I am happy to tell you I 

^^d the most worthless of men to be the dearest old fellow too ; 

'^^id am in a condition to make the gratii^-ing report, that there is 

^Uch less difference than you are inclined to suppose between an 

^^Bcst man and a scoimdrel." The effect of this cheering discovery 

?*ppened to be, that while he seemed to be scrupulously folding good 

^ most men, he did in rcalit}* lower it where it was, and set it up 

^here it was not ; but that was its only disagreeable or dangerous 

ft^ture. 

It scarcely seemed, however, to afford Mr. Meagles as much satis- 
^Uytion as the Barnacle genealogy had done. The cloud that Clennam 
?*Hi never seen upon his face before that morning, frequently overcast 
^^ again ; and there was the same shadow of uneasy observation of him 
^n the comely fiice of his wife. More than once or twice when Pet 
pressed the dog, it appeared to Clennam that her father was un- 
^^•ppy in seeing her do it; and, in one particular instance when 
^wan stood on the other side of the dog, and bent his head at 
^ aamo time, Arthur fancied that ho saw tears rise to Mr. Meagles's 



150 LTTTLB DOEBIT. 

^yes as lie hiimed out of the room. It was cither the fact too, or he 
fancied further, that Pet herself was not insensible to these little inci- 
dents ; that she tried, with a more deHcatc affection than lumal, to ex- 
press to her good father how much she loved him ; that it was on this 
account that she fell behind the rest, both as they went to church and 
as they returned from it, and took his arm. He could not haT^; 
sworn but that as he walked alone in the g;arden afterwards, he had aaij 
instantaneous glimpse of her in her father's room, clinging to both herl 
parents with the greatest tenderness, and weeping on her fiather's 
shoulder. * 

The latter part of the day turning out wet, they were fain to keep 

the house, look over Mr. Meagles's collection, and beguile the time with 

conversation. This Gowan had plenty to say for himself, and said it 

in an off-hand and amusing manner. He appeared to be an artist by 

t. profession, and to have been at Home some time ; yet he had a slight 

• u>: carelesSj amateur w^j with him — a perceptible limp, both in his devotion 

^^ to art and his attainments — which Clennam could scarcely understand: 

He applied to Daniel Doyce for help, as they stood together, looking 
out of window. 

" You know Mr. Gowan ? " he said in a low voice. 

** I have seen him here. Comes here every Sunday, when i^ey axB at 
home." 

** An artist, I infer trom what he says ? " 

*' A sort of a one," said Daniel Doyce, in a surly tone. 

** "What sort of a one ? " asked Clennam, with a smile. 

** Why, he has sauntered into the Arts at a leisurely Pall-Mall pace," 
said Doyce, " and I doubt if they care to be taken quite so coolly." 

Pursuing his inquiries, Clennam found that the Gowan family were a 
very distant ramification of the Barnacles ; and that the paternal Gowan, 
originally attached to a legation abroad, had been pensioned off as 
a Commissioner of nothing particular somewhere or other, and had died 
at his post with his drawn salary in his hand, nobly defending it to the 
last extremity. In consideration of this eminent public service, the 
Barnacle then in power had recommended the Crown to bestow a 
pension of two or three hundred a-year on his widow ; to which the 
next Barnacle in power had added certain shady and sedate apartments in 
the Palace at Hampton Court, where the old lady still lived, deploring the 
degeneracy of the times, in company with several other old ladies of 
botti sexes. Her son, Mr. Henry Gowan, inheriting from his father, the 
Commissioner, that verv questionable help in life, a very small ind^)en— 
dence, had been difficult to settle ; the rather as public appointment 
chanced to be Rcarec, and his genius, during his earlier manhood, was 
of that exclusively agricultural character which applies itself to the 
cultivation of -wild oats. At last he had declared that he woul" 



become a Painter ; partly because he had always had an idle knacl 
that way, and partly to grieve the souls of the Bamacles-in-chief wh- 
had not provided for him. So it had come to pass successively, 
that several distinguished ladies had been frightftdly shocked ; thei 
that portfolios of his performances had been handed about o' night-^i 
and declared ^vith ecstacy to be perfect Claudes, perfect Cuyps, peife-^3t 
pha^nomena ; then, that Lord Decimus had bought his picture, and ' 



UTTLI DOBBIT. 151 

laked the President and Council to dinner at a blow, and had said, 
irith his own magnificent gravity, ''Bo you know, there appears to 
3ne to be really immense merit in that work ? " and, in short, that people 
cf condition had absolutely taken pains to bring him into fashion. 
IBut, spmdiQW it had all failed. The prejudiced public had stood out 
rngtanat it obstinately. They had determined not to admire Lord 
JDecimns's picture. They had determined to believe that in every 
mervioey except their own, a man must qualiiy himself, by striving early r . y 
jacnd late, and by working heart and soul, might and main. So nowC^ ' 
\ Qowan, like that worn-out old coffin which never was Mahomet's 
anybody else's, hung midway between two points : jaundiced and 
jealous as to the one he had left : jaundiced and jealous as to the other 
'Mie oonldh't reach. 

Such was the substance of Clcnnam's discoveries concerning him^ 

that miny Sunday afternoon and after^^-ards. 
About an hour or so after dinner time. Young Barnacle appeared, 
~ by his eye-glass; in honor of whose family connexions, Mr. 
had cashiered the pretty parlor-maids for the day, and placed 
duty in their stead two dingy men. Young Barnacle was in the 
dejgiiee amazed and disconcerted at sight of Arthur, and had mur- 
inred involuntarily, '^ Look here ! — ^Upon my soul, you know ! " 
his presence of mind returned. 
Even then, he was obliged to embrace the earliest opportunity of 
"^.giking his friend into a window, and saying, in a nasal way that was a 
of his general debility : 
'* I want to speak to you, Gowan. I say. Look here. Who is 
at feUow ? " 

'' A firiend of our host's. None of mine." 

''He's a niost Jferocious Badical, you know," said Young Bamade. 
"Is he ? How do you know ? " 

'^Egod, sir, ho was Pitching into our people the other day, in the 

tremendous manner. Went up to our place and Pitched into my 

ier to that extent that it was necessary to order him out. Came 

to our department and Pitched into me. Look here. You never 

^w such a fellow." 

" What did he want? " 

" Egod, sir," returned Young Barnacle, ** He said he wanted to = ' . 
low, you know ! Pervaded our department — without an appointment 

~ said he wanted to know ! " 

The stare of indignant wonder with which Young Barnacle accom- 

this disclosure, would have strained his eyes injuriously but for 

opportune relief of dinner. Mr. Meagles (who had been extremely 

^^^licitous to know how his uncle and aunt were) begged him to 

^^nduct Mrs. Meagles to the dining-room. And when he sat on Mrs. 

^Ceagles's right hand, Mr. Meagles looked as gratified as if his whole 

*^^jnily were there. 

All the natural charm of the previous day was gone. The eaters of 
tile dinner, like the dinner itself, were lukewarm, insipid, over-done — i 
^Jid all owing to this poor little dull Young Barnacle. Conversation- 
lev at any time, he was now the victim of a weakness special 
V> the oocasion, and solely referable to Clennam. He was under a 



.< 




152 UTTLE DORBTT. 

pressing and continiial necessity of looking at that gentleman, which 
occasioned his eye-glass to get into his soup, into his wine-glass, into 
Mrs. Meaglcs's plate, to hang down his back like a bell-rope, and 
be several times disgracefully restored to his bosom by one of the 
dingy men. Weakened in mind by his frequent losses of this instra- 
ment, and its determination not to stick in his eye, and more and more 
» Enfeebled in intellect every time he looked at the mysterious dennam, 
he applied spoons to his eye, forks, and other foreign matters connected 
vrith, the furniture of the dinner-table. His discovery of these 
mistakes greatly increased his difficulties, but never released him team 
the necessity of looking at Clennam. And whenever Clennam spoke, 
this Ol-starred yoimg man was clearly seized with a dread that he was 
coming, by some artful device, round to that point of wanting to knowv 
you know. 

It may be questioned, therefore, whether anyone but Mr. Mea^^es 
had much enjoyment of the time. Mr. Meagles, however, thorong^y 
enjoyed Yoimg Barnacle. As a mere flask of the golden water in tlie 
^ tale become a full fountain when it was poured out, so Mr. Meag^ 
^o^ seemed to feel that this small spice of Barnacle impeurted to his taUe 
the flavor of the whole family tree. In its presence, his frank, fine^ 
genuine qualities paled ; he was not so easy, he was not so natural, he 
was striving after something that did not belong to him, he was not 
himself. What a strange peculiarity on the part of Mr. Meagles, and 
where should we find such another case ! 

At last the wet Sunday wore itself out in a wet night ; and Yoong 
Barnacle went home in a cab, feebly smoking ; and Uie objection^Je 
Gowan went away on foot, accompanied by the objectionable dog. Tcfi 
' had taken the most amiable pains all day to be friendly with Clennam, 
but Clennam had been a little reserved since breakfast — ^that is to say, 
would have been, if he had loved her. 

When he had gone to his own room, and had again thrown himself 
into the chair by the fire, Mr. Doyce knocked at the door, candle in 
hand, to ask him how and at what hour he purposed returning on the 
morrow ? - After settling this question, he said a word to Mr. Doyce 
about tliis Gowan — who would have run in his head a good deal, 
Jf he had been his rival. 

*' Those are not good prospects for a painter," said Clennam. 

*'Ko," returned Doyce. 

Mr. Doyce stood, chamber-candlestick in hand, the other hand in his 
pocket, looking hard at the flame of his candle, with a certain quiet 
perception in his face that they were going to say something more. 

** I thought our good friend a little changed, and out of spirits, after 
lio came this morning? " said Clennam. 

** Yes," returned Dovcc. 

'* But not his daughter ? " said Clennam. 

'*Iso/' said Dovce. 

Tlicn^ was a pause on both sides. Mr. Doyce, still looking at the 
flame of his candle, slowly resimied : 

*'The truth is, he has twice taken his daughter abroad, in the 
.," ho])o of separating her from Mr. Gowan. He rather thinks she is disposed 



UTTLI DORBIT. 153 

to like him, and be has painM doubts (I quite agree with bim, as I dare 
say you do), of the bopefulness of sucb a marriage.*' 

" There—" Cleunam choked, and coughed, and stopped. 
"Yes, you hare taken cold," said Daniel Doyce. But without 
looking at him. 

"Thero is an engagement between them, of course?" said 

dennam airily. . 

'* No. As I am told, certainly not. It has been solicited on the 
gentleman's part, but none has been made. Since their recent return, 
<mr Mend has yielded to a weekly visit, but that is the utmost. 
lifinnie would not deceive her father and mother. You have travelled 
"with them, and I beHeve you know what a bond there is among 
^em, extending even beyond this present life. All that there is 
l>etween Miss Minnie and Mr. Gowan, I have no doubt we see." 
" Ah ! We see enough ! " cried Arthur. 

Mr. Doyce wished him Good Night, in the tone of a man who had 
Jieaid a moumfiil, not to say despairing, exclamation, and who sought 
'tx> infdse some encouragement and hope into the mind of the person 
t^y whom it had been uttered. Such tone was probably a part of his 
oddity, as one of a crotchetty band; for how could he have heard any- . 
'fching of that kind, without Clennam's hearing it, too ? i^'^^ 

The rain fell heavily on the roof, and pattered on the ground, and '' 
dripped among the evergreens, and the leafless branches of the trees. - 
^The i^p^fell heavily, drearily. It was a night of tears. f' ^ *■ ^ 

If Oeonam had not decided against fulling in love with Pet ; if he 
Yiad had the wealmess to do it ; if he had, little by little, persuaded 
liimself to set all the earnestness of his nature, all the might of his 
bcpe, and all the wealth of his matured character, on that cast ; if he 
h&d done this, and found that &11 was lost ; he would have been, that 

axigkt, unutterably miserable. As it was 

As it was, the rain fell hea\-ily, dreaiily. 



CHAPTER XVm. 

LITTLE DORRrr's LOVER. 

IiTTLE DoRRiT had not attained her twenty-second birthday without 
^ding a lover. Even in the sallow Marshalsca, the ever young Archer 
*hot off a few featherless arrows now and then from a mouldy bow, 
^d winged a Collegian or two. 

little Dpirit's.loY.er, however, was not a Collegian. He was the 
^^utiinentai son of a turnkey. His father hoped, in the fulness of 
^c, to leave him the inheritance of an unstained key ; and had from 
^ early youth familiarised him with the duties of his office, and with 
*ii ambition to retain the prison-lock in the family. While the sucees- 
^'^ was yet in abeyance, he assisted his mother in the conduct of a 
^^ tobacco business round the comer of Horsemonger Lane (his 



154 LITTLE DOBBIT. 

£Eitlicr being a non-resident turnkey), which could nsnallj command a 
neat connexion within the College walls. 

Years agone, when the object of his affections was wont to sit in her 
. .^^ little arm-chair by the high Lodge-fender, Younff John (family name, 
[^' Chivery), a year older than herself, had eyed her with admiring 
wonder. "When he had played with her in the yard, his fiivorito 
eame had been to counterfeit locking her up in comers, and to counter- 
feit letting her out for real kisses. When he grew tall enough to peep 
through l£c keyhole of 'the great lock of the main door, he had divers 
times set down his Other's dinner, or supper, to get on as it might on 
the outer side thereof, while he stood taking cold in one eye by dint of 
peeping at her through that airy perspective. 

If Young John had ever slackened in his truth in the less penetrable 
days of his boyhood, when youth is prone to wear its boots imlaced and 
is happily unconscious of digestive organs, he had soon strung it up 
again and screwed it tight. At nineteen, his hand had inscribed in 
chalk on that part of the wall which fronted her lodging, on the 
occasion of her birthday, '* Welcome sweet nursling of the Fairies !" 
At twenty-three, the same hand falteringly presented cigars on 
Sundays to the Father of ^c Marshalsea, and Father of the queen of 
his soul. 

Young John was small of stature, with rather weak legs and very 
weak light hair. One of his eyes (perhaps the eye that used to peep 
through the keyhole) was also weak, and looked larger than the other, 
as if it couldn't collect itself. Young John was gentle likewise. But 
he was great of soul. Poetical, expansive, faithful. 

Though too humble before the ruler of his heart to be sanguine, 
Yoimg John had considered the subject of his attachment in all its 
lights and shades. Following it out to blissful residts, he had descried, 
without self-commendation, a fitness in it. Say things prospered, and 
"* they were united. She, the child of the Marshalsea ; he, the lock- 
keeper. There was a fitness in that. Say he became a resident 
turnkey. She would officially succeed to the chamber she had rented 
so long. There was a beautiful propriety in that. It looked over the 
wall, if you stood on tiptoe ; and, with a trellis-work of scarlet beans 
and a canary or so, would become a verj' Arbour. There was a charm- 
ing idea in that. Then, being all in all to one another, there was 
even an appropriate grace in the lock. With the world shut out 
(except that part of it which would be shut in) ; "v^-ith its troubles and 
disturbances only known to them by hearsay, as they would be descsibed 
by the pilgrims tarrying with them on their way to the Insolvent 
Shrine ; with the Arbour above, and the Lodge below ; they would glide 
down the stream of time, in pitstoral domestic happiness. Yoxmg 
John drcjw tctu's from his eyes ])y finisliing the picture vrith 
a tombstone in the adjoining churchyard, close against the prison 
wall, bearing the following touching inscription : ** Sacred to the 
Memory of Joiix Cnrvi:RY, Sixty years Turnkey, and fifty years Head' 
Turnkey, Of the nciglibouring Marshiilsca, Who depjirted this life, 
universiilly respected, on the thirty -first of December, One thousand 
eight hundred and eighty-six, Aged eight}'-thrc^e years. Also of his 
truly beloved and truly loving wife, Amy, Whose maiden name was 



LITTLE DORRIT. 155 

DosBiTy Wlio survived his loss not quite forty-eight hours. And who 
breathed her last in the Marshalsea aforesaid. There she was bom, 
There sh^ UTed, There she died." 

The Hiivery |>arent8 were not ignorant of their son's attachment — 
indeed itiuid, on some exceptional occaBions, thrown him into a state of 
mind that had impelled him to conduct himself with irascibility 
towards the customers, and damage the business — ^but they, in their 
turns, had worked it out to desirable conclusions. Mrs. Chivery, a 
prudent woman, had desired her husband to take notice that their 
John's prospects of the Lock would certainly be strengthened by an 
alliance wiUi Miss Dorrit, who had herself a kind of claim upon the 
College, and was much respected there. Mrs. Chivery had desired her 
husband to take notice that if, on the one hand, their John had meatus and 
a post of trust, on the other hand. Miss Dorrit had Family ; and that 
her (Mrs. ChivCTjr's) sentiment was, that two halves made a whole. Mrs. 
Chivery, speaking as a mother and not as a diplomatist, hod then, from a 
different point of view, desired her husband to recollect that their John 
had never been strong, and that his love had fretted and worritted him 
enough as it was, without his being driven to do himself a mischief, as 
nobody couldn't say he wouldn't be if he was crossed. These argu- 
ments had so powerfully influenced the mind of Mr. Chivery, who 
was a man of few words, that he had, on sundry Sunday mornings, 
given his boy what he termed **a lucky touch," signifying that he 
considered such commendation of him to Good Fortune, preparatory to 
bis that day declaring his passion and becoming triumphant. But 
Toung John had never taken courage to make the declaration ; and 
it was principally on these occasions that he had returned excited to 
the tobacco shop, and flown at the customers. 

In this affair, as in every other. Little Dorrit herself was the last person 
considered. Her brother and sister were aware of it, and attained a sort 
of station by making a peg of it on which to air the miserably ragged old 
fiction of the family gentility. Her sister asserted the family gentility, 
by flouting the poor swain as he loitered about the prison for glimpses 
of his dear. Tip asserted the family gentility, and his own, by coming 
out in the character of the aristocratic brother, and loftily swaggering 
in the little skittle ground respecting seizures by the scruff of the neck, 
which there were looming probabilities of some gentleman unknown 
executing on some little puppy not mentioned. These were not the only 
members of the Dorrit family who turned it to account. No, no. The 
Father of the Marshalsea was supposed to know nothing about the 
matter, of course ; his poor dignity could not see so low. But he took 
the cigars on Sundays, and was glad to get them ; and sometimes even 
condescended to walk up and down the yard with the donor (-who was 
proud and hopeful then), and bcnignantly to smoke one in his society. 
With no less readiness and condescension did he receive attentions from 
Chivery Senior, who always relinquished his arm-chair and newspaper 
to him, when he came into the Lodge during one of his spells of diity ; 
and who had even mentioned to him, that if he would like at any time 
after dusk, quietly to step out into the fore-court and take a look at the 
street, there was not much to prevent him. If he did not avail him- 
self of this latter civility, it was only because he had lost tlie leYi^ iot 



U9 



UTTLK IMHISn. 



it : innsmuch as he took ^vcn'thing clae h<> could got, and would say at 
tinKiB, " Extrcm^'ly ci\Tl porson, Chivery ; very nttentivc man and vfTf 
rpspcctful. Young ChiTerj-, too ; really, almost with a delicate perccp- 
tinu of out's position here. A very well conducted &niLly inde«d, too 
Chiveriee. Tbcir behaviour gratifies me." 

The derotcd Youhk John all this time regardt'd the family with 
jrevorcnct. He never dreamed of disputing their prctenvoss* °"' ^^ 
fhomogo to tho miserable Mumbo Jumbo they paraded, ka to resent- 
ing any affirout from her brolher, he would hnve felt, nen if } 
not naturally been of u most paeitic dinposition, that to wag his tongue or 
lift his hand uguinst that saercd gentleman would be nn unhallowed acL 
Hi> was soTT^- that his noble mind nhould tnke afieaiM ; still, he felt 
tho fact to be not iueompatiblc with its nubility, and songht to pinpitiato 
and conciliate that gallant soul. Her ttither, a gentleman in misfor- 
tune — a gentleman of n fine spirit and courtly manners, who alwaya 
horx: with him — he deeply honored. Her slater, he considered somewhat 
vain and proud, bnt a young lady of infinite accomplishments, who 
eould not forget the pant. It was an instinctive testimony to Littlo 
Dorrit's worth, and difference ii-om all the rest, that the poor young 
tcllow honored and loved her for being Hunpty what she was. 

The tobacco business round the comer of Horsemonger Lane ^ 
curried on in a rural establishment one story high, which had I 
benefit of the air from the yards of Horsi^mongcr Lone Jail, and tbi 
advantage of a retired walk under the wall of that pleasant eatablJA' 
mcut. The business was of too modest a character to support ■ 
life-size Highlander, but it niaintninod a littlo one on a bracket o 
doorpost, who looked like a thilen Chenib that had found it necessaij 
to Inko to a kilt. 

Prom tho portal thus deeoruted, one Sunday alter on early dinner o 
baked viands. Young John issued forth on his usnal Huadnf 
errand; not empty-handed, but with his offering of cigars. He wm 
neatly attired in a plum-colored coat, with as large a collar of bladt' 
velvet as his figure could carry ; a silken waistooat, bedookcd ^ 
goldi'n sprigs; a cliasle neck -kerchief much in vogue ut that day, 
representmg a preserve of liluo pheasants on n buff ground; panta- 
loons BO highly decorated with side-stripes, that each leg wns • 
three-stringed lute j and it hat of state, very high and hard. l^lu!» 
tho prudent Mrs. Chivery perceived that in addition to those Mlora* 
ments her John carried a pair of wliite kid gloves, and a cone like* 
littlo Hnger-post, surmouDted by un ivory hand marshalling him tiM 
way tltat he shoutd go ; and when she hbw him, in this heavy monli- 
ing order, turn the comer to the right ; she remarked to Ur. UuvefT 
who was at home at tlie tiuie, that she thought she knew trhitt 
way the wind blew. 

'ihv Collegians were cntrrtaiiiing a considerable number of vi 
tluiL Sundny alWninon, luul their t'lirher kept his room for the purpose 
vi receiving presmtnlion!!. Alter making the tour nf the Toni, lotUa 
Itorrit's lover with a hurried heart went up-stuirs, mul kiioeked wi ~ 
Itia knuckles at the Father's door. 

'■ Come in, oome in I " said a gnwious voice. The Father's vnli 
her ti^t^t, tht il«whalw'» flttfcer'B. He wm tetcd ia t^ 



LirrLE DORiur. 1, 

velvet cap, witli his ik w^paper, threo-and-sixpencc accidentally left c 
the table, and two chairs arranged. Everything prepared for holdin 
hifi iJourL 
" Ah, Young John ! How do you do, how do you do ? " 

" PrcttrjBelV^'^^^^ yo^> wr. I hope you are the same." 
" Te8,'«fohn Cniveir-^Vos. Nothing to complain of." 

" I have taken the iibcrty, sir, of " 

"Eh?" The Father of the Marshalsoa always lifted up his eye- 
brows at this point, and became amiably distraught and smilingly 
abeent in mind. 

" — A few cigars, sir." 

" Oh! " (For the moment, excessively surpri.se<l.) Thank you, Young 
John, thank you. But reidly, I am afraid I am too— No? Well 
then, I will say no more about it. Put them on the mantel-shelf, if 
you please, Young John. And sit down, sit do^vn. You are not a 
stnnger, John. 

" Thank you, sir, I am sure. — Miss ;" here Young John turned the 
glteat hat round and round upon his left-hand, like a slowly twirling 
3iionse-cage ; " Miss Amy quite well, sir?" 
" Yes, John, yes ; very well. She is out." 
"Indeed, sir?" 

" Yes, John. Miss Amy is gone for an airing. My young people 
win go out a good deal. But at their time of life, ifs natural, 
«John.'' 

" Very much so, I am sure, sir." 

" An ailing. An airing. Yes." lie was blandly tapping his 
an the table, and casting his eyes up at the window. " Amy 
gate for an airing on the Iron Bridge. She has become quite par- 
te the Iron Bridge of late, and seems to like to walk there better 
anywhere." He rctumed to convt^rsation. ** Your father is not 
duty at present, I think, John ? " 

" No, sir, ho comes on later in the afternoon." Another twirl of 
great hat, and then Young John said, rising, '* I am afi*aid I 
Qst wish you good day, sir." 

So soon ? Good day, Young John. Xay, nay," with the utmost 
, " never mind your glove, John. Shake hands with it 
n. You are no stranger hen», you know." 

Highly gratified by the kindness of his reception. Young John 
cscended the staircase. On his way down he met some Collegians 
Tinging up visitors to be presented, and at that moment Mr. Dorrit 
Ixappcned to call over the bannisters with particular distinctness, ** Much 
^>luigcd to you for your little testimonial, John !" 

Little Dorrit's lover very soon laid down his penny on the toll-plate 

^>1 the Iron Bridge, and came upon it looking about him for the well- 

^3wwn and well-beloved figure. At first he feared she was not there ; 

\>iit as he walked on towards the !Middlest»x side, he saw her standinp; 

•till, looking at the water. She wa^ absorbed in thought, and he 

"^widered what she might be thinking about. There were the piles of 

^ty roofs and chimneys, more free t'rom smoke than on week-days ; 

•*>d there were the distant masts and steeples. JVrhaps she was think- 

^"H ibout them. 



« 



168 LITXLI DORBTT. 

little Dcnrit miued bo long, and waB bo entirely preoocnpiady tliaft 
altibongji her lover stood quiet for what he thought was a long tima» and 
twice or thiice retired and came back again to the former ^Kit» atOl 
she did not move. So, in the end, he made up his mind to go on, and 
seem to come upon her casually in passing, and speak to her. The 
place was quiet, and now or never was the time to i^ieak to her. 

fie walked on, and she did not appear to hear his stepe until he was 
dose upon her. When he said "Ifias Dorrit! "she started and ftU hack 
rfjram him, with an expression in her face of fiight and something likft 
(dislike that eaused him unutterable dismay. She had often avoided bim 
ihefore— always, indeed, for a long, long while. She had turned away 
and g^ded ofl(, so often, when she had se^n him coming towaxds her, that 
the unfortunate Young J6^ oould not think it accidentaL But 1m 
had hoped that it might be shyness, her retiring character, her fi»»- 
knowledge of the state of his heart, anything short of avendon. Kow, 
that momentary look had said, ^' You, of all people ! I would xa&v 
have seen any one on earth, than ^ou ! " 

It was but a momeataT Jook, inasmuch as she*checked it, and aaid 
in her softUttle voice, «^li^ Ifr. John! Is it you?" But she Ut 
what it had been, as he ftfi what it had been; and they stood looking 
at one another equally oonftised. 

" Miss Amy, I am afbdd I disturbed you by speeJang to yon.** 

" Yes, rather. I — ^I came here to be alone, and I thou^t I was." 

** Ififls Amy, I took the liberty of walking this wa^, because Mi; 
Boirit chanced to mention, when I called upon him just now, that 
you '* 

She caused him more dismay than before by suddenly murmuring, ''0, 
&thcr, father!" in a heart-rending tone, and turning her ieuoe awny. 

'' liiBs Amy, I hope I don't give you any uneasiness by naming 
Mr. Dorrit. I assure you I found him very well, and in the best of 
spirits, and he showed mo even more than his usual kindness ; being so 
very kind as to say that I was not a stranger there, and in all ways 
gratifying me very much." 

To the inexpressible consternation of her lover. Little Dorrit, with 
her hands to her averted face, and rocking herself where she stood, as 
if she were in pain, murmured, *' 0, father, how can you ! dear, dear 
father, how can you, c«in you, do it ! " 

The poor fellow stood gazing at her, overflowing with sympathy, but 
not knowing what to make of this, imtil, ha\'ing taken out her hand- 
kerchief and put it to her still averted iace, she hurried away. At first 
ho remained stock still ; then hurried after her. 

'' Miss Amy, pray ! Will you have the goodness to stop a momcoL 
Miss Amy, if it comes to that, let me go. I shall go out of my senses, 
if I have to think that I have driven you away like this." 

His trembling voice and unfeigned eoruestnetis brought Little Doirit 
to a stop. ** 0, 1 don*t know what to do," she cried, '' I don't know what 
to do!" 

To Young John, who had never seen her berctt of her quiet aelf- 
commund, who hod seen her from her infancy ever so reliable and sdf* 
8Uppros6i*d, there was a shock in her distress, and in having to aasoeiatu 
hinLBclf with it as its cause, that shook him from his great hat to the 



unui DO&BiT. 159 

payement. He felt it necessary to explain himself, fie might be 
misunderstood — supposed to mean something, or to have done some- 
thing, that had never entered into his imagination. He begged her 
to hear him explain himself, as the greatest favor she could show 
him." 

'* MiBB Amy, I know very well that your family is far above mine. 
It were vain to conceal it. There never was a Chivery a gentleman that 
ever I heard of, and I will not commit the meanness of making a false 
representation on a subject so momentious. Miss Amy, I know very 
well that your high-soided brother, and likewise your spirited sister, 
i^am me from a heighth. What I have to do is to respect them, to 
widi to be admitted to their friendship, to look up at the 
eminence on which they are placed, from my lowlier station — for, 
whether viewed as tobacco or viewed as the lock, I well know it is 
lowly — and ever wish them well and happy.'* 

l%ere really was a genuineness in the poor fellow, and a contrast y^ ^^ f 
"between the hardness of his hat and the softness of his heart (albeit, \P 
^erha£6;( of his head, too), that was moving. Little Dorrit entreated ^™ 
±0 disparage nei&erlumself nor his station, and, above all things, to 
^vest himself of any idea that she supposed hers to be superior. This 
^ave him a little comfort. 

" Miss Amy," he then stammered, " I have had for a long time — 
ages they seem to me — Revolving ages — a heart-cherished wish to say 
something to you. May I say it ? " 

Little Dorrit involimtarily started from his side again, with the 
^^aintest shadow of her former look ; conquering that, she went on at 
^T^eat Fpeed half across the Bridge without replying : 

" May I — Miss Amy, I but ask the question humbly — may I say it ? 
I have been so unlucky already in giving you pain, without ha^'ing any 
»i^ intentions, before the holy Heavens ! that there is no fear of my saying 
it; unless I have your leave. I can be miserable alone, I can be cut up 
y myself; why should I also make miserable and cut up one, that I 
^ould fling myself off that parapet to give half a moment's joy to ! 
jc^ot that t^t's much to do, for I'd do it for twopence." 

The moumfulness of his spirits, and the gorgeousness of his appear- 
^*ice, might have made him ridiculous, but that his delicacy made liim 
^^^spectable. Little Dorrit learnt from it what to do. 

"If you please, John Cbivery," she returned, trembling, but in a 
^^et way, " since you are so considerate as to ask me whether you 
**^1 say anv more — ^if vou please, no." 
'*Kever, Miss Amy?" 
"Xo, ii* you please. Never." 
" Oh Lord ! " gasped Young Jolm. 

" But perhaps, you will let me, instead, say something to you. I 
^ant to say it earnestly, and with as plain a meaning as it is possible ^ . 
^? express. When you think of us, John — I mean my brother and \ 
sister, and mo— <lon't think of us as being any different from the rest ; 
^% whatever we once were (which I hardly know) we ceased to bo 
wng ago, and never can be any more. It will be much better for you, 
^d much better for others, if you ^^'ill do that, instead of what you 
at doing now." 



] 



IBfl 



UTTUt DOaBIT. 



I 



Youiifj Jolm dolefully protostoil that he would try to litar it in 
mind, and would be hpartily glnd to do anything phc «"isln-'l. 

"As to mr," wid Little Dorrit, "think ns little of mc as ym 
can ; the leas, the better. Wboii you think of mc at all, Jgun, 
let it only be as the child you bare seen grow up ia the |iriwin, 
with one Bet of duties always occupying her; as a weak^^ rolirt-d, 
contented, unprotected girl. I particularly want yuu to remembeii 
that when I come outside the ^te, I am unproti'ctcd And soUlarr." 

He would trj- to do anything ahc wished. But why did 3£i«» Ain 
much wont bim to remember that? 

*' Because," returned Little Dorrit, " 1 know I can then (jnile trust 
you not to forget to-day, and not to say ally more to nic. Ytitt 
arc so generous that I know I can trust to you tor that : und 1 do. and 
I always wilL 1 am going to show ym, at onee. tbat I fblly triutt yoo^ 
I like this place where we ore speukiBft, better than any place I know ; 
her slight color hud faded, but her lover thought be anw it coming back 
just then; " and I may be onenhere. I know it is only necessary foC 
me to tell you so, to be quite sure that you will uev 
, ugain in search of mo. And I nni — quite sure ! " 

She might rely upon it, said Yoong John. Ho wn> 
wretch, but her word was more thun a law for him. 

"And good bye, .lohn," said Little Dorrit "And I hope ym 
will have a good wife one day, iitid bo a bappy man. 1 iim sure yt^ 
will deserve to be ha]ipy, and you will be, John." 

As she held out her hand to him with thciie words, the heart tliaj 
«aa under the waistcoat of ttprifcs — mere slop-work, if the truth nuiM 
bo known — swelled to the sine of the heart of a gentleninn : and thi 
poor common little fellow having no room to hold il, hurst tnti 

"0 don't cry; " said Little Dorrit pitcou»ly. ■' Don't, don't I 
bye, John. Ood bless you ! " 

" Good bye. Miss Amy. Good bj-e I " 

And so heletlhor: ilrst observing that sheMit down on the coinpr 4 
n neat, and not only rented her little hand upon the rough wall, but Uii 
her iiicc against it too, as if her hend were heavy, and hrr mind ' 

It was un ulTei'tinR iUuatroticin of tlie fallacy of biunun pQiji-cts, 
behold her lover with the gnat hat pulled over bis eyes, ihc wh 
voUai turned up as if it rained, the plum-eolored coat buttoned to 
tbc silken waistcoat of golden sprigs, and the little dire<:tiaD<| 
pointing inexorably home, deeping along by the womt hack- 
and composing, as he went, the following new iniicription tor a tatn 
Btonc in Saint Gi-org«'a Churcbynrd : 

"Here lie the mortal n'omins of John CntvEKt, Never niiytfaii 
worth mentioning, Who died about thu end of llu' year on« ihouM 
dght bundnvl and tucnly-xix. Of a broken heart, ui^uesliug witli 
laitt breath thtit the word Aitr might be inscribt^ over hi» aah 
Which was accordingly directed to be done. By his afflicted I'arents. 



LITTLE DORKIT. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE FATHER OF THE HARSHALSEA IN TWO OR THREE RELATIONS. 

The brothers William and Frederick Dorrit, walking up and do'wn 
the College-yard-=^-of course on the aristocratic or Pump side, for the 
Father nuide it a point of his state to be chary of going among his 
children on the Poor side, except on Sunday mornings, Christmas Days, 
and other occasions of ceremony, in the obsor\-ance whereof he was 
YCiy punctual, and at which times he laid his hand upon the heads of 
their infants, and blessed those yoimg Insolvents with u benignity that 
was highly edifying — ^tho brothers, walking up and down the College- 
yard togetiier, were a memorable sight. Frederick the jfnjc, was so 
humbled, bowed, withered, and faded ; William the boiid^ was so 

Comrtlyy CApdftw*rtidiTHj^^ rtk^ boTiPvolnntly prniapTmia of aj)c^ition ; that 

ih tins regard only, if in no other, the brothers were a spectacle to 
wonder at. 

They walked up and down the yard, on the evening of Little Dorrit's 
Sunday interview with her lover on the Iron Bridge. The cares of 
state were over for that day, the Brtiwing lloom hftd been well 
attended, several new presentations had taken place, the tliret»-and-six- 
penee accidentally left on the table liad ac<?identally increased to twelve 
shillings, and the Father of the Marshalsc^a refreslied himself with a 
whiff of cigar. As he walked up and down, affably accjommodating 
hw step to the shuffle of his ])rother, not proud in his superiority, but 
considerate of that poor creature, l)earing with him, and breathing 
toleration of his infirmities in ever}- litth* puff of smoke that issued 
fiDm his lips and aspired to g(?t over the spiked wall, he was a sight to 
wonder at. 

His brother Frederick of the dim eye, palsied hand, bent form, and 
.Igroping mind, submissively shuffled at his side, accepting his patronage 
«tf he accepted every incident of the labyrinthian world in which h(j 
iiad got lost. He held the usual screAvcd bit of whity-broAvn pai)er in 
^is hand, from which he ever and again unscrewed a spare pincli of 
vniuff. That falteringly taken, he would glance at his ])rothcr not 
'^midmiringly, put his hands behind him, and shuffle on so at his side 
'^mtH he took another pinch, or stood still to look about him — perchance 
s^nddenly missing his clarionet. 

The College visitors were melting away as the sliades of night drew 
«">n, but the yard was still pretty full, the Collegians being mostly out, 
^sfteeing their Mends to the Lodge. As the brothers paced the yard, 

V^TIliam the bond looked about him to receive salutes, returned them 
ly graciously lifting off his hat, and, with an engaging air, ])revented 
Frederick the free from running against the company, or being jostled 
against the wall. The Collegians as a body were not easily impressibh*. 
but even they, according to their viuious ways of wondering, api)earc(l 
to find in the two brothers a sight to wonder at. 



162 LITTLE DOBJUT. 

** You arc a little low this evening, Frederick," said the Father of 
the Marshalsea. ** Anything the matter ? " 

" The matter ? " He stared for a moment, and then dropped his head 
and eves again. '* No, William, no. Notliing is the matter." 

** ff you could he persuaded to smarten yourself up a little, 
Frederick " 

" Aye aye ! " said the old man hurriedly. " But I can't be. I 
can't be. Don't talk so. That's all over." 

Thc\ Father of the Marshalsea glanced at a passing Collegian with 
whom he was on friendly terms, as who should say, '' An enfeebled 
old man, this ; but he is my brother, sir, my brother, and the voice of 
Nature is potent ! " and steered his brother clear of the handle of the 
pump by the threadbare sleeve. pRothing would have been wanting to 
■ the peifection of his character as a fraternal guide, phUoeopher, and 
I Mend, if he had only steered his brother dear of ruin, instead of 
\bringing it upon him. 

'' I think, William," said the object of his affectionate consideration, 
** that I am tired, and will go home to bed." 

" My dear Frederick," returned the other. ** Don't let me detain 
you ; don't sacrifice your inclinations to me." 

** Late hours, and a heated atmosphere, and years I suppose," said 
Frederick, "weaken me." 

" My dear Frederick," returned the Father of the Marshalsea, " do 
you thmk you are sufficiently careful of yourself? Do you think your 
habits arc as precise and methodical as — shall I say as inine are ? Not 
to revert again to that little eccentricity' which I mentioned just now, 
I doubt if you take air and exercise enough, Frederick. Here is the 
parade, always at your service. Why not use it more regularly than 
you do?" 

" Hah ! " sighed the other. " Yes, yes, yes, yes." 

^^•But it is of no use sa}'ing yes yes, my dear Frederick," tlie Father 
of the Murshalsea in liis mild wisdom persisted, "unless you act on 
that assent. Consider my case, Frederick. I am a kind of example 
Necessity and time have taught nie what to do. At certain stated 
hours of the day, you will find me on tlie parade, in my room, in thr 
Jjodge, reading the paper, receiving company, eating and drinking. I 
have impressed upon Amy during many years, that 1 must have my 
meals (for instance) punctmdly. Amy has grown up in a sensi* of the 
importance of these aiTangements, and you know what a gcx)d girl 
she is." 

The brother only sighed again, as he plodded dreamily along. '* Hah! 
Yes, yes, yes, yes." 

" My dear fellow," said the Father of the Marshalsea, laying his 
hand upon his shoulder, and mildly rallying him — mildly, l)ecaiL*je of 
his weakness, poor deiu* soul ; " you said that beton*, and it does not 
express much, Frederick, even if it means much. I wish I could Toxiso 
you, my good Frederick ; you want to be roused.'* 

*' Yes, William, yes. Xo doubt," n^tumed the other, lifting lus 
dim eyes to his face. ** But 1 am not like you." 

The Father of the Mar>»hals<.»a said, with a shnig of modest s(?lf- 
depreciation, **OhI You mighi be like me, my dear Fnsleriek; )-ou 



UTTLB BOKEIT. 1(33 

might be, if you chose ! " and forbore, in the magnanimity of his 
strength, to piy«« hjji jfRlInn hmther j&irther. 

There was a deal of leave-taking going on in comers, as was usual 
on Sunday nights ; and here and &ere in the dark, some poor woman, 
wife or mother, was weeping with a new Collegian. The time had been 
when the Father himself had wept, in the shades of that yard, as his 
own poor wife had wept. But it was many years ago ; and now he was 
like a passenger aboard ship in a long voyage, who has recovered horn 
sea-sickness, and is impatient of that weakness in the fresher passengers 
taken aboard at the last port. He was inclined to remonstrate, and to 
express his opinion that people who couldn't get on Avithout crying, 
had no business there. In manner, if not in words, ho always testified 
his displeasure at these interruptions of the general harmony ; and it 
was 00 well understood, that delinquents usually withdrew if ihey 
were aware of him. 

On this Sunday evening, he accompanied his brother to the gate with 
im air of. Al^djliaillfiP ^^^ clemency ; being in a bland tcm]X}r and 
gnuaooaly disposed to overlook the tears. In the flaring gaslight of 
the Lodge, several Collegians were basking : some talang leave of 
vintors, and some who had no visitors, watching the frequent turning 
of the key, and conversing with one another and with Mr. Chiver}-. 
The paternal entrance made a sensation of course ; and ITr. Chivcry, 
tooclung his hat (in a short manner though) w^th his key, hoped he 
found himself tolerable. 

" Thank you, Chiver}-, quite well. And you? '' 

Mr. Chivery said in a low growl, ** ! /^ was all right." Wbich 
was his general way of acknowledging enquiries after his health, when 
a little sullen. 

" I had a visit from Young John to-day, Chivery. And very smart 
he looked, I assure you." 

So Mr. Chivery had heard. Mr. Chivery must confess, however, 
that his wish was that the boy difln't lay out so much money upon 
it. For what did it bring him in ? It only brought him in Wexa- 
tion. And he could get that anj^vhere, for nothing. 

" How vexation, Chivery?" asked the benignant father. 

** No odds," returned Mr. Chivery. '*!N^ever mind. Mr. Fredenck 
going out ? " 

** Yes, Chivery, my brother is going home to bed. He is tired, and 
not quite well. Take care, Frederick, take care. Good night, my 
<lear Frederick ! " 

Shaking hands with his brother, and touching his greasy hat to the 
company in the Lodge, Frederick slowly shullied out of the door which 
Mr. Chivery unlocked for him. The Father of the Marshalsea showe^' 
the amiable solicitude of a superior being that he should come to no 
harm. 

'*Be so kind as to keep the door open a moment, Chiverj-, that I 
may sec him go along the passage and down the steps. Take care, 
Freicrick! (He is very infirm). Mind the steps! (He is so veiy 
absent). Be careful how you cross, Frederick. (I really don't like 
the notion of his going wandering at large, he is so extremely liable to 
1>e run over.)" 

jc 2 



With tlujsi' ^vor(lB, flnd with n flico cxprcfwivc of many 
. doubts and much anxiouH guordinnshi^ ho turned hiu regards npon 
'I the aaeemblcd company in the Lodge : so plainly indicating thnt Iii* 
\g brother was to be pitied tor not being under iMk and kny, tJint an 
jc^inion to that eftect went round uniong the Collt')^aiis nssiemblcd. 
'Tint he did not i-eei-ivc it with uniiuulified nawnt ; on Um- contnunr, 
be Hiiid, No, gentlemen, no: let tbem not misuuderHtimd him. Hi* 
hrother Frederick wu* mueh broken, no doubt, and it might b« 
more eomfortable to himself (the Folher of the Uarshalsea) to know 
that he was eofc vithin the walla. Ktill, it must be remembered that 
to support an existence tJieru during mnny years, n'i|uired n certain 
combinntion of i]uuliticB — lie did not soy high ijuulitics, hut iiunlitiCM 
moral qualities. Now, bud lii» brother Frederick that (K-oiuiar imi 
1 of qualities ? Gentlemen, he was a most exeellpnt man, a moHt pontic, 
tender, and eiitimable niun. M'ilh thf simplicity of a child ; but would 
A he, thoi^h unauited tor moat other places, do tor that placv ? Ho ; 
he said confidently, no ! And, he said, Heaven forbid that Fnnderick 
should bti there in any other churticter than in Ids present vc 
character ! Gentlemen, whoever cimic to that Co]le)p-, tu 
there a length of time, must have xtrength of oharHcttT to g» 
through a good deal and to come out of a good deal. Wm hi* 
beloved brother Frederick that man? No. They saw him. ereo w it 
was, crushed. Uisfortnne eimshed him. He had not i>owcr of rcooil 
enough, not elaatieih- enough, to bi' n bng time in such n p!o 
yet preserve his sell^reepect und feel rnnscious ttiiit he wan a 
man. Freilerick had not (if he might use the <-x]jre«sioii) 
enough to see in any delicate little atlentiouK and — and — Testimosiab 
liiat he nkight imder such circumntances receive, the ffxxb 
nature, the fine spirit animating the C'-oUegians a$ a community, nod at 
the same time no deg^lation tu himKelf, and no depreciation of 
claims as a gentleman. Gentlemen, Ood bles» youl 

Such was the homily with which he imiirovcd ami jMunlvd Ike 
occasion to the company in the l*dge. before turning into the ■aUmr' 

;'nrd again, and going with hi:^ own itoor shabby dignity past tbe Col>' 
egian in the dressing-gown who hod no coat, and past the CoUe|pai 
in the sen-side slippers who bod no shoe», and past the itout gn^ngrooet 
Collegian in the corduroy knee-breeches nho had no care*, and pat 
tho lean clerk Coll^^ion in buttonlc«B black who had no liopa**, op 
own poor shubhy staireasc, to his own poor shabby room. 

There, the table was laid for hi» »u]>per. and lu» old gre^" gown 
ready for him on his chair-baek at the fire. His daughter pnt 
little pmyer-book in her pocket — had she been pra)~ing for pit^ <a 
priiionerB and captives! — and mse to welcome him. 

Uuelc hiul gone home, then ? she asked him, as she changed Ua i 
and gave liim his lilnrk velvet cap. Yes, jmele bad gom- home. 
her father iiijoycd bin walk? Why, not much. Amy: not mi 
No ? Did he not fi*l quite well ? 

As she stood behind him. leaning over liis chair so loviDgly, 
looked A-ith downcast eyes st the fire. An uneaeiliew wtolo over '. 
that was like a touch of shame; and when ho spoke' ft» bo pi 
did. it was in un uneonneeted and embarrassed manner. 



IJTTLJB DO&RIT. 165 

'* Something, I — ^hera ! — I don't know what, has gone wrong with 
Chiveiy. He is not — ^ha ! — ^not nearly so obliging and attentive as 
usual to-night. It — ^hem I — ^it's a little thing, but it puts me out, my 
love. It's impossible to forget," turning his hands over and over, and 
looking closely at them, " that — ^hem ! — that in such a life as mine, I 
am unfortunately dependent on these men for something, everj- hour in 
the day." 

Her arm was on his shoulder, but she did not look in his face while 
be spoke. Bending her head, she looked another way. 

" I — ^hem ! — ^I can't think, -fVmv, what has given Chivery offence. 
He is generally so — so very attentive and respectful. And to-night ho 
was quite— quite short with me. Other people there too ! Why,i 
good Heaven ! if I was to lose the support and recognition of Chiveryi 
and his brother-officers, I might stan-e to death here." ) 

While he spoke, he was opening and shutting his hands like valves ; ^O 
so conscious all the time of that touch of shame, that he shnmk before \r 
Mb own knowledge of his meaning. 

" I — ha ! — ^I can't think what it's owing to. I am sure I caimot 
imagine what the cause of it is. There was a cei*tain Jackson here 
once, a turnkey of the name of Jackson (I don't think you can re- 
member him, my dear, you were very young), and — ^hcm ! — and he 
had ai — ^brother, and this — ^young brother paid his addresses to— at 
least, did not go so fiir as to pay his addresses to — ^l)ut admired — 
respectfully admired — the — ^not the daughter, the sister — of one of us ; 
a rather distinguished Collegian ; I may say, verj- much so. His name 
was Captain Martin ; and he consulted me on the question whether it 
was necessary that his daughter — sister — shoidd hazard offending the 
turnkey brother by being too — ha ! — too plain with the other brother. 
Captain Martin was a gentleman and a man of honor, and I put it to 
him first to give me his — ^hia own opinion. Captain Martin (highly 
respected in the army) then unhesitatingly said, that it appeared to him 
that his — hem ! — sister was not called upon to understand the young 
man too distinctly, and that she might lead him on — I am doubtful 
whether lead him on was Captain Martin's exact expression; indeed I 
think he said tolerate him— on her father's — I should sav, brother's — 
account. I hardly know how I have strayed into this storj-. I sup- 
pose it has lx»en through being imable to account for Cliiver}* ; but as 

to the connection between the two, I don't see " 

His voice died away, as if she could not boar the pain of hearing 
him, and her hand had gradually crept to his li])s. For a little while, 
there was a dead silence and stillness ; and he remained shrunk in his 
chair, and she remained with her arm round his neck, and her head 
bowed down upon his shoulder. 

His sapper was cooking in a saucepan on the lii*o, and, when she 
moved, it was to make it ready for him on the table. He took his 
usual seat, she took hers, and he began his meal. They did not, as 
yet, look at one another. By little and little he began ; laying down 
his knife and fork with a noise, taking things up sharply, biting at his 
bread as if he were offended with it, and in other similar ways showing 
that he was out of sorts. At length he piL**hod his plate from him, and 
iKpokc aloud. With the strangest inconsistency. 



106 LITTLE DORBIT. 

"What does it matter whether I eat or starve? What does it 
matter whether such a hlighted life as mine comes to an end, now, 
next week, or next year ? What am I worth to any one ? A poor 
prisoner, fed on alms and hroken yictoals; a sciualid, disgraced 
wretch ! " 

" Father, father ! " As he rose, she went on her knees to him, and 
held np her hands to him. 

" Amy," he went on in a suppressed voice, trembling violently, and 
looking at her as wildly as if he had gone mad. "I tell yon, 
if you could see me as your mother saw me, you wouldn't believe it to 
be the creature you have only looked at through the bars of this cage. 
1 was young, I was accomplished, 1 was good-looking, I was independent 
— ^by God I was, child ! — and people sought me out, and envied me, 
Emded mc I " 

" Dear father ! " She tried to take down the shaking arm that he 
flourished in the air, but he resisted, and put her hand away. 

" If I had but a picture of myself in those days, though it was ever 
so ill done, you would bcproud of it, you would be proud of it. But 
I have no such thing. "JTow, let me be a warning ! Let no man," he 
WHed, looking haggardly about, '* fail to preserve at least that little of 
\he times of his prosperity and respect. Let his children have that 
clue to what he was. Unless my face, when I am dead, subsides into 
the long departed look — they say such things happen, 1 don't know — 
my children will have never seen me." 

"Father, father!" 

"0 despise me, despise* me! Look away from me, don't listen to 
me, stop me, blush for mc, erj' for me — Even you, Amy! Do it, do 
it ! I do it to myself ! 1 am hardened now, I have sunk too low to 
caro long even for that." 

" Dear father, loved father, darling of my heni-t ! " She was cling- 
ing to him \<-ith her arms, and she got him to drop into his chair again, 
and cauj^ht at the niised arm, and tried to put it round her neck. 

" Ix^t it lie there, father. Look at me, father, kiss me, father! ijvly 
think of me, father, for one little moment! " 

, Still he went on in the same wild way, though it was gradually 
^>reaking down into a miserable whining. 

" And yet I liave some respect here. I have made some stand 
against it. I am not rjuite trodden doT^Ti. (io out and ask who is the 
chief person in the j)lace. They'll tell you it's your father. Go 
out and ask who in never trilled with, and who is always treated 
Avith some delicacv. They'll say, your father. Go out imd ask what 
liineral here (it must ho here, 1 know it can be nowhere else) will 
mak(» more talk, and perhai)s more grief, than any that has ever gone 
out at the gate. They'll say, your father's. Well then. Amy ! Amy ! 
Is your father so universally despised ? Is there nothing to redeem 
him ? Will you have nothing to remember him by, but his ruin and 
df^-ay ? Will you be able to have no affection for him when he in 
gone, poor ctistaway, gone ? " 

He burst into tears of maudlin pity, for hims(4f, and at length suf- 
fering her to embrjice him, and take charge* of him, let his grey head 
iTst against her cheek, and bewaile<l his wretchedness, rrcsently he 



LITTLE iX>XRIT. 167 

ohanged the subject of his lamentations, and clasping his hands about 
tkcr as she embraced him, cried, Amy, his motherless, forlorn child ! 
O the days that he had seen her careful and laborious for him ! Then lie 
xseyertei Jift JUflOUSfilfy and weakly told her how much better she would 
liave loved him if she had known him in his vanished character, and how 
lie would have married her to a gentleman who should have been proud 
of her as his daughter, and how (at which he cried again) she should 
first have ridden at his fatherly side on her own horse, and how the 
crowd (by which he meant in effect the people who had given him the 
trwelve shillings he then had in his pocket) should have trudged the 
^usty roads respectfully. . 

Thus, now Toasting, T^wd^B2^^pjSLg, in either fit a captive with the . j(> 
jail-rot upon mm^'ana tfiempimty of his prison worn mto the grain ^ 
of his soul, he revealed his degenerate state to his affectionate child. 
i^o one else ever beheld him in the details of his humiliation. Little 
xnecked the Collegians who were laughing in their rooms over his late 
address in the Lodge, what a serious picture they had in their obscure 
gallery of the MarshaLsea that Sunday-night. 

There was a classical daughter once — ^perhaps — ^who ministered to 
licr father in his prison as her mother had ministered to her. Little 
J)oiTit, though of the unheroic modem stock, and mere English, did 
much more, in comforting her father's wasted heart upon her innocent 
l^reast, and turning to it a foimtain of love and fidelity that never ran 
<iry or waned, through all his years of famine. 

She soothed him ; asked him for his forgiveness if she had been, or . 
seemed to have been, unduti^il ; told him. Heaven knows truly, that 
she could not honor him more if he were the favorite of Fortune and 
"the whole world acknowledged him. When his tears were dried, and 
lie sobbed in his weakness no longer, and was free from that touch of 
shame, and had recovered his usual bearing, she prepared the remains 
of his supper afresh, and, sitting by his side, rejoiced to see him eat 
^nd drink. For, now he sat in his black velvet cap and old grey gown, 
Ynagnonimous again ; and would have comported himself towards any 
0>I1^^8n who might have looked in to ask his advice, like a great 
xnoitil Lord Chesterfield, or Master of the ethical ceremonies of the 
^iarshalsea. 

To keep his attention engaged, she talked with him about his ward- 
xrobe ; when he was pleased to say, that Yes, indeed, those shirts she 
propoeed would be exceedingly acceptable, for those he had were worn 
out, and, being ready-made, had never fitted him. Being conver- 
sational and in a reasonable flow of spirits, he then invited her atten- 
tion to his coat as it hung behind the door : remarking that the Father 
of the place would set an indifferent example to his children, already 
disposed to be slovenly, if he went among them out at elbows. He 
Vras jocular, too, as to the heeling of his shoes ; but became grave on 
tiie subject of his cravat, and promised her that when she could afford 
ity she shotild buy him a new one. 

While he smoked out his cigar in peace, she made his bed, and put 
Vhe tmaXL room in order for his repose. Being weary then,- owing to 
tbe adranoed hour and his emotions, he came out of his chair to bless 
lier and wish her Good night. AU tMs time he had never oii^^ ^trak!|gs^ 



168 LnTLB DO&Rir. 

fof her dress, her ahoes, her need of anything. No other person upon 
earthy save herseli^ could have been so unmindful of her wants. 

He kissed her many times with '' Bless you, my love. Good night, 
my dear ! " 

But her gentle breast had been so deeply wounded by what 
she had seen of him, that she was unwilling to leave him alone, lost he 
should lament and despair again. '' Father dear, I am not tired; let 
me come back presently, when you are in bed, and sit by you." 

He asked her with an air of protection, if she felt solitary ? 

''Yes, father." 

" Then come back by all means, my love." 

" I shall be verj- quiet, father." 

'' Don't think of me, my dear," he said, gi^'ing her his kind peimis- 
sion fully. '' Come back by all means." 

He seemed to be dozing when she returned, and she put the low fire 
together ver}' softly lest ^e should awake him. But he overheard 'her, 
and called out who was that ? 

" Only Amy, father." 

" Amy, my child, come here. I want to say a word to you." 

He raised nimself a little in his low bed, as she kneeled beside it to 
bring her face near him ; and put his hand between hers. ! Both 
the private father and the Father of the Marshalsea were strong vdthin 
him then. 

" My love, you have had a life of hardship here. Xo companions, 
no recreations, many cares I am afraid ?" 

** Don't think of that, dear. I never do." 

*' You know my position, Amy. I have not been able to do much 
for you; but all I have been able to do, I have done." 

" Yes, my dear lather," she rejoined, kissing him. '*Iknow, I know." 

*' I am in the twenty- third year of my life here," he said, with a 
catch in his breath that was not so much a sob as an irrepressible 
sound of self approval, the momentarj* outburst of a noble conscious- 
ness. '* It is all I could do for my children — I have done it. Amy, 
miy love, you are by far the best loved of the three ; 1 have had you 
principally in my mind — whatever I have done for your sake, my 
dear child, 1 have done freely and without murmuring." 

Only the wisdom that holds the clue to all hearts and all mysteries, 
can surely know to what extent a man, especially a man brought down 
as this man had been, can impose upon himself. Enough, for the 
present place, that he lay down with wet eyelashes, serene, in a manner 
majestic, after bestowing his life of degradation as a sort of portion <m 
the devoted child upon whom its miseries had fallen so hea\'ily, and 
whose love alone had saved him to be even what he was. 

That child had no doubts, asked herself no questions, for she was 
but too content to see him witli a lustre round his head. Poor dear, 
good dear, truest, kindest, dearest, were the only words she had for him, 
as she hushed him to rest. 

She never left him all that night. As if slie had done him a wrong 
which hec tenderness could hardly repair, she sat by him in his sleep, 
at times softly kissing him with suspended breath, and calling him in 
a whisper by some endearing name. At times she stood aside, so as not 



LITTLE DOB&IT. 169 

to interocpt the low fire-light, and, watching him when it fell upon 
his sleeping fiice, wondered did he look now at all as he had looked 
when he was prosperous and happy ; as he had so touched her by 
imagining that he might look once more in that awM time. At the 
UiODig^t of that time, she kneeled beside his bed again, and prayed 
" spare his life ! save him to me ! look down upon my dear, 
long-suffering, unfortunate, much changed, dear dear father!" 

lifot until the morning came to protect him and encourage him, did 
she give him a lost kiss and leave the small room. When she had 
stolen down stairs, and along the empty yard, and had crept up to her 
own high garret, the smokeless housetops and the distant country hills 
were discernible over the wall in the clear morning. As she gently 
opened the window, and looked eastward down the prison yard, the 
spikes upon the wall were tipped with red, then made a sullen purple jf^ 
pattern on the sun as it came flaming up into the heavens. The spike^fK^^ 
had never looked so sharp and cruel, nor the bars so heavy, nor the \ 
prison space so gloomy and contracted. She thought of the simrise on 
rolling rivers, of the simrise on wide seas, of the sunrise on rich land- 
scape©, of the sunrise on great forests where the birds were waking and 
the trees were rustling ; and she looked down into the living grave on 
¥hiGli the sun had risen, with her father in it, three and twenty years, 
and said, in a burst of sorrow and compassion, *' No, no, I have neverl 
seen him in my life ! " J 



CHAPTEE XX. 

MOVING IN SOCIETY. 

Ir Young John Chivery had hod the inclination, and the power, to 
^te ft MtJBniil" ^'^TftUy Itfjd flty he would have had no need to go for an 
*vengiii^^lUBU'uUuil OUf 6r the family of his beloved. He would have 
foTuui it amply in that gallant brother and that dainty sister, so 
^^^g^ d in mean experiences, and so loftily conscious of the &unily 
?W^; so reacly to beg or borrow fix)m the poorest, to eat of anybody s 
'^'^ q>end anybody's money, drink from anybody's cup and break it -< ( ^> 
l^^erwaxds. To have painted the sordid, facts of their Uves, and they \ 
'^^'ougbout invoking the death's-head apparition of the family gentility 
: ^ come and scare &eir benefactors, would have made Young John a 
' s^t of the first water. 

Tip had turned his liberty to hopeful account by becoming a billiard- ) 
'^ker. He had troubled himself so little as to the means of his "^X 
f^^^tte, that Clennam scarcely needed to have been at the pains of 
pressing the mind of Mr. Plomish on that subject. Whoever had 
Ptid him the compliment, he very readily accepted the compliment with 
^ oomplimentSy and there was an end of it. Issuing forth from, the 
&^ (HI these easy terms, he became a billiard-marker ; and now occa- 
^'^^BQQy looked in at the little skitde-ground in a green Se\n&Bx\Lib\* 



.^j 



170 LrrrLi dobxit. 

ooat (second-hand), with a shining collar and bright buttons (new), and 
drank tho beer of the Collegians. 

J()ne solid stationary point in the looseness of this gentleman's 
character, was, that ho respected and admired his sister Amy. The 
feeling had never induced him to spare her a moment's uneasineflSy or 
to put himself to uny restraint or inconvenience on her account; but, 
witii that Harshalsea taint upon his love, he loved her. The same 
rank Harshalsea flavor was to be recognised in his distinctly perceiving 
that she sacrificed her life to her father, and in his having no idea that 
she had done anything for himself. 

When this spirited young man, and his sister, had begun systemati- 
cally to produce the family skeleton for the over-awing of the College^ 
this narrative cannot precisely state. Probably at about the period 
when they began to dine on the.Collcg8.charify. jlt is certain that the 
^orc reduced and necessitous they were, tho more pompously the 
f Skeleton emerged from its tomb ; and that when there was anything 
particularly shabby in the wind, the skeleton alwa3rs came out with the 
ghastliest flourish. 

Little Dorrit was Lite on the Monday morning, for her &ther slept 
late, and afterwards there was his breakfast to prepare and his room to 
arrange. 8he had no engagement to go out to work, however, and 
therefore stayed with him imtil, with Maggy's help, she had vat 
everything right about him, and had seen him off upon his mommg 
walk (of twent}' yards or so) to the coffee-house to read the paper. She 
then got on her bonnet and went out ; huA'ing bi^cn anxious to get out 
much sooner. Then.' wtts, as usual, a cessation of tho small-talk in the 
Lodge as she ])as8e(l tlirouph it ; and a Collegian who had come in on 
Saturday night, received the intimation from the elbow of a moiv 
seasoned Collegian, ** Look out. Hero she is!" 

She wanted to see her sister, but when she got round to Mr. Cripples' s 
she foimd that both her sister and her uncle had gone to the theatre 
where they were engaged. Having taken thought of this prol)ability 
by the way, and ha\'ing settled that in hfiieh case she would follow 
them, she set off afresh for the theatre, which was on that side of the 
river, and not verj' far away. 

Little Dorrit was almost as ignorant of the ways of theatres as of the 
ways of gold mines, and when she was din^ited to a furtive sort of 
door, with a curious up-all-night air about it, that appeared to ho 
ashamed of itself and to 1h» hiding in an allej-, slie hesitated to approach 
it ; being IHirther deterred by -the sight of some half dozen close-shaved 
gentlemen, with their hats very stnmgely on, who were lounging about 
the door, looking not at all unlike Collegians. On herapphing to them, 
reassured by this rcwmblance, for a direction to Miss Dorrit, they 
madi* way for her to enter a dark hall — it was moTV like a gn-at 
grim lamp gone out than anything else? — where she could hear the 
rlistunt plajnng of music and the sound of dancing feet. A man so 
much in want of airing that he had a blue mould upon liim, sat 
watching this dark i)lace from a hole in a comer, like a sj)ider ; and be 
told her that he would send a message* up to Miss Dorrit by the first 
lady or gt»ntlenian who went through. The first lady who went 
tlirongh had a n)ll of music, half in her muff and half out of it, and 



LrrriiB doertt. 171 

was in such a tumbled condition altogether, that it seemed as it' it 

would be an act of kindness to iron her. But as she was yery good- 

oatnied, and said "Come with me ; I'U soon find MissDorrit for you/' 

Hiss Dorrit's sister went with her, drawing nearer and nearer, at every 

^p she took in the darkness, to the sound of music and the sound of 

dancing feet. 

At Last they came into a maze of dust, where a quantity of people 
were tumbling over one another, and where there was such a con- 
tusion of unaoeountable shapes of beams, bidk-heads, brick walls, 
^peSy and rollers, and such a mixing of gaslight and daylight, that they 
s^med to have got on the wrong side of the pattern of the universe. 
^ttle Donit, left to herself, and knocked against by somebody every 
nioment, was quite bewildered when she heard her sister's voice. 
** Vhy, good gracious. Amy, what ever brought you here ! " 
'' I wanted to see you, Fanny dear ; and as I am going out all day 
to-morrow, and knew you might bo engaged all day to-day, I 

^ou^t " 

'* But the idea, Amy, of yow coming behind ! I never did ! ** 
^^ ier sister said this in no very cordial tone of welcome, she con- 
^i^cted her to a more open part of the maze, where various golden 
<^Aaiis and tables were heaped together, and where a number gf 
yotmg ladies were sitting on anything they could find, chattering. lAH^ 
*^*^^se young ladies wanted ironing, and all had a curious way ot^r 
*^H>kiiig everywhere, while they chattered. J 

Just as the sisters arrived here, a monotonous boy in a Scotch cap 
P^t his head round a beam on the left, and said, "Less noise there, 
T^^es ! " and disappeared. Immediately after which, a sprightly gen- 
"^^enxan with a quantity of long black hair looked round a beam on tho 
^*^Siit, and said, " Less noise there, darlings ! " and also disappeared. 

** The notion of you among professionals, Amy, is really the last 
^^^ing I could have conceived ! " said her sister. ** Why, how did you 
^^er get here?'' 

** I don't know. The lady who told you I was here, was so good as 
^^ bring me in." 

" Like you quiet littic things ! You can make your way anywherd, 
^believe. / couldn't have managed it, Amy,' though I know so much 
^ore of the world." 

It was tiie fanuly custom to lay it down, as family law, that she was \ 
^ iJailLdillDCStlfiJi^^ n^f^tlTOx without the great and sage experiences -^^ 
^f the rest TJwU^st^^^yJ^ fiction was the fuuily asj?ierti.oji of its^.X ^ 
^jjllftAgLJjgrvices. Not £6 make too mucK'of tiein. \? 

'*"Weiri^Xn5^hat have you got on your mind, Amy ? Of course 
you have got something on your mind, about me ? " said Fanny. She 
spoke as if her sister, between two and three years her junior, were her 
prejudiced grandmother. 

" It is not much ; but since you told me of the lady who gave you 

the bracelet, Fanny " 

The monotonous boy put his head round the beam on the left, and 
said, ** Look out there, ladies! " and disappeared. The sprightiy gentle- 
man with the black hair as suddenly put his head round the beam on 
the right, and said, ** Look out there, darlings!" and also diaa^^^csoxed. 



<4 



UlTtB DOKEtT. 

Thdreupon all the j-onng ladii's rose, imd ixj^im «haidng thdr aki^ 
out brfaiiid. I 

"Weil, Amy?" eaid Funny, doing att the rest, ilid; "what were y( 
going to Hay?" I 

" Sini-c you told mc a lady hud giviin you the bracelet yon ahowi 
roe. Funny, I huvo not ticen (|uitc lesv un vour uctount, and indfl 
want to know a littk more, if you wiU lonJidt- more to me." I 

" >'ow, ludiea! " said the boy in the Biotch cup. "Nov, dnrlingij 
wiid the gentleman with Hie bkck hair. They w<!n! every 9 
gone in a moment, and the music and the dancing fcel were Iw^ 

Little Dorrit but iliimi in a golden eliiiir, maile c]uitc giddy by ibl 
rapid inlemipliona. Hit sister iind the nat were a longtime pone; id 
during their abai'uee a voice (it appeai'od to be that ttf the gyntlnn 
with the blaek hair) was continnullTealling out thniughthcmusic, "Oil 
two, three, four, fire, ax — go ! 6ne, two, throe, four, five, six — i 
Hteady, durling!«! One, two, throe, four, five, sax — go !" VltuntiM 
tile Toira stopped, und tiicy all camo hiiek again, more or lew out^ 
breath, folding thenuclvcs in their shawls, und making ready for l| 
BtroctH, " Stop a moment. Amy. and let tlu-m get away bofora id 
whispered Fanny, They were toon left alone ; nothing mon! impl 
tuiit happening, in the meuntimti, than the boy looking round hi> i 
lieum, und saying, " Everj'body at eleven to-morrow, ladio ! " Ij 
the gintltman with the bUek hnir looking round lii« old buou, 4 
saying, " Everybody ut ele%-en lo-niomiw, darlings 1" vaeh i ' ' 
ae<iiistumcd mimncr. 

UTien they were uloue, m>niettuug was rolled up or by other n 
got out of the way, and there woh a great empty well before tl 
looking down into the depths of whieh Funny said, " Sow, unc 
Little Dorrit, as h<.T eyon beeamo used to the darknew, &i]i11]r b 
lum out, at the bottom of the wiU, in an ubstTUFc ivraet b}' I ' 
with his inatrimjiflt tn its rugged iiiae iiiidi'r \ui aniL 
<* The old man looked as if the remote high gallen,- windows, ' 
[V^ their little strip of sky. might iiu\ii been the jwint of hin 
fbrtnnm, fVoin whieh he iiad descended, until he hud gisdn) 
nuik ilown below there to the bottom. He had be<-ti in that 
nights a week for numy years, but had never Ixi-n ulwcrved to 
hit cyea above his niuue-book, and was eoulidently Ulieved to 
never seen a play. There were legends in tlie plute thai h* did 
mnoh aa know tlie popular ha»CM and Iwroines by siKht. and that ^ 
low comedian liad " mugged" at hini in his rirbost mnnnui 
ni^ts for a wager, and he had thouti no tmee of eonscioustieiui. 
eurpentera had a joke to the effect that ho was dead without 
aware of it; and the fni^uentcr* of the pit supnniuHl liini to pa 
whole life, night and day and Sunday aiid u!l, w tlie orehe^tn- ' 
hud trieil Uiin a few time* with pinihcii of snuff offered ovei-tlicn 
he had always ret<|Kinded to thin attention with a momimtsry 
up uf manner that hud the jiale ])hantom of a gentleman in it : b 
— —\y or«anon, had any other part in wliat wan 



thin he nevei 



a than the part written out tor tlu' elarionet 
L ^ jj^ jj^^ j,^ jj^^_ i-larionet, he Imd 



{lart i 






-• lifiM 



LITTLE DOKBTT. 173 

i^ras poor, some said he was a wealthy miser; hut he said 
tbingy never lifted up his hewed head, never varied his shufUng 
it \fj getting his springless foot from the ground. Though expecting 
i^w* to he summoned hy his niece, he did not hear her until she had 
*o^en to him three or four times; nor was he at all surprised hy 
^^ presence of two nieces instead of one, but merely said, in his 
^"^emulons voice, " I am coming, I am coming ! " and crept forth by 
^Hie nndergroimd way which emitted a cellarous smell. 

** And so, Amy,'-' said her sister, when the three together passed out, 
^ the door that had such a shame-faced consciousness of being different 
^^om other doors : the imde instinctively taking Amy's arm as the 
'^Sii to be rdied on : "so. Amy, you are ciirious about me ? " 

8lte was pretty, and conscious, and rather flaimting ; and the conde- 
^^HfflOTi with which she put aside the superiority of her charms, and 
^ icr worldly experience, and addressed iier sister on almost equal 
iV'ins, had a vast deal of the family in it. 

*' I am interested, Fanny, and concerned in anything that concerns 

** So vou are, so you are, and you are the best of Amys. If I am 

'"cr a httle provoking, I am sure you'U consider what a thing it is to 

^cmpy my position and feel a consciousness of being superior to it. I 

wouldn't care," said the Daughter of the Eather of the Marshalsea, 

i£the others were not so comnion. iNonc of them have come down in 

e world as we have. They are all on their o^ii level. Common." 

little Borrit mildly looked at the speaker, but did not interrupt her. 

Uny took out her handkerchief, and rather angrily Ti-ipcd her eyes. 

' was not bom where you were, you know, Amy, tmd perhaps that 

kes a difference. My dear child, when we get rid of uncle, you 

U know all about it. "We'U drop him at the cook's shop where he is 

ig to dine." ^ 

*hey walked on witli him until they came to a dirty shop- window in 

irty street, which was made almost opaque by the steam of hot 

ts, vegetables, and puddings. But, glunpses were to be caught of 

1st leg of pork bursting into tears of sage and onion in a metal 

voir foil of grav\% of an unctuous piece of roast beef and blistcrous 

shire pudding bubbling hot in a similar receptacle, of a stuffed 

^f ^-eal in rapid cut, of a ham in a perspiration Tiath the pace it was 

at, of a shallow tank of baked potatoes glued together by their 

richness, of a truss or two of boiled greens, and other sub- ^ 

1 delicacies. Within, were a few wooden partitions, behind which j 

utomers as found it more convenient to take away their dinners * 

• stomachs than in their hands, packed their purchases in solitude. 

opening her reticule as they surveyed those things, produced 

at repositor}' a shilling and handed it to Uncle. Uncle, after 

ing at it a little while, divined its obiect, and muttering 

•? Ha ! Yes, yci*, yes ! " slowly vanishe(rm)m them into the 

, Amy," said her sister, ''come with me, if you are not too 

"alk to Harlc}- Street, Cavendish Square." 
with which she threw off this distinguished address, and the 
iTC her new bonnet (which was more gauzy than serviceable) 



\ 



174 LITTLE DORBIT. 

made her sister wonder ; however, she expressed her readiness to go tc 
Harley Street, and thither they directed their steps. ArriTcd at thai 
l^nd destination, Eanny singled out the handsomest house, anc 
knocking at the door enquired for Mrs. Merdle. The footman wh< 
opened tiie door, although he had powder on his head, and was baekec 
up hy two other footmen likewise powdered, not onl^ admittCM 
Mrs. Merdle to be at home, but asked Fanny to walk in. Famr 
walked in, taking her sister with her ; and they went up-stairs wid 
powder going before and powder stopping behind, and were Icf 
in a spacious semicircular drawing-room, one of several drawing-roonu 
where there was a parrot on the outside of a golden cage holding oa b; 
it8 beak with its scaly legs in the air, and putting itself into nuor 
strange upside-down postures. This peculiarity has been observed ii 
birds of quite another feather, climbing upon golden wires. 

The room was far more splendid thau anjiJiing Little Dorrit hm 
over imagined, and would have been splendid and costly in ani 
eyes. She looked in amazement at her sister and would hav« 
asked a question, but that Fanny with a warning frown pointed to i 
curtained doorway of communication with another room. The cnrtaii 
shook next moment, and a lady, raising it Yriih a heavily ringed hand 
dropped it behind her again as she ent^ed. 

The lady was not young and fresh from the hand of Nature, bat w« 
young and frtsh from the hand of her maid. She had large im%4jii( 
handsome eyes, and dark unfeeling handsome hair, and a brcMwl imfeipln^ 
handsome bosom, and was made the most of in every particiilai 
Either because she had a cold, or because it suited her face, she wore i 
rich white fillet tied over her head and under her chin. And if eve 
there were an imleeling handsome chin that looked as if, for certain, i 
had never been, in familiar parlance, ** chucked'* by the hand of man 
it was the chin curbed up so ti<^ht and close by that lacied b ridle. 

"Mrs. Merdle,** said Fiinnv. ''Mv sister, ma'am." 

'*I am glad to sec your sister, ^Miss Dorrit. I did not reniembc 
that you had a sister.'* 

** I did not mention that I liad," said Fannv. 

*'Aye!** Mrs. Merdle cur\'ed the little finger of her left hands 
who should say, ** I have cauglit you. I know you didn*t I '* .Ul he 
action was usually with her lett hand l)ecause her hands were not a paii 
the left being much the wliiter and phiniper of the two. 'Dien sh 
iidded : ** Sit do^^^l," and composed herself voluptuously, in a neat c 
crimson and gold cushions, on an ottoman near tlie parrot. 

"AL<o protessional i* " said Mrs. Menllc, looking at Little Dorri 
ihrough an eye-glass. 

Fanny answen'd No. ** No," said Mrs. Merdle, dropping her glaR* 
** Has not a j)rofo.ssi()nal air. Xvry pleasant; but not profcbsional." 

'* My sister, ma'am/* said Fanny, in wliom there was a singiili 
mixture of defen^nce and hardihood, '* has been awking me to tell hei 
as between sisters, how 1 came to have the honor of knowing yo« 
And as I had engaged to call upon you once more, I thought 1 nugli 
take the libiily of bringing her with m(\ when jKThaps you would td 
her. I ^viHh her to know, and perhaps you will tell her.** 

•* Do you think, at your sister*8 age ** hinte<l Mrs. Merdlo. 



LnrUB DOKRET. 175 



^ ■; ' 



« « 






** She is much, older than she looks/' said Panny; '' almost as old as 
r am.". 

^'Society^'* said Mrs. Merdle, "with another curve of her little finger, ;V^. 

3 so difficult to explain to young persons (indeed is so difficult to 
escplain to most persons), that I am glad to hear that. I wish Society 
'wa^ not Bo arhitrary, I -wish it was not so exacting — ^Bird, be quiet ! '* 
The parrot had given a most piercing shriek, as if its name were 

iety and it asserted its right to its exactions. 
** But," resumed Mrs. Merdle, ** we must take it as we find it. TVe 
it is hollow and conventional and worldly and very shocking, but 
luilesg we arc Savages in the Tropical seas (I should have been charmed 
to be one myaelf — ^most delightful life and perfect climate I am told), we 
muflt oonsult it. It is the conumuLlot. Mr. Merdle is a most extensive 
mcrohaaty his transactions are on the vastest scale, his wealth and 
inHuence are very great, but even he — ^Bird, be quiet I " 

The paiTot had shrieked another shriek ; and it filled up the sen- 
tence so expressively that Mrs. Merdle was under no necessity to end it. 
''Since your sister begs that I would terminate our personal ac- 
quaintance," she began again, addressing Little Donit, ''by relating 
the ciitnunstances that are much to her credit, I cannot object to comply 
"with her request, I am sure. I have a son (Iwas first married extremely 
young) of two or three and twent}-." 

Pumy set her Hps, and her eyes looked half triumphantly at her 



** A son of two or three and twenty. He is a little gay, a thing 
Society is accustomed to in young men, and he is vciy impressible. 
Perhaps he inherits that misfortune. I am >cry impressible myself, 
^y nature. The weakest of creatures. My feelmgs are touched in a 
"foment." . i ' 

She said all this, and everything else, as coldly as a woman of snow ; . / 
^uite forgetting the sisters except at odd times, and apparently , 
**<idre88ing some abstraction of Society. For whose behoof, too, filic\ 
^^^■asionally'arranged her dress, or the composition of her figure upon 
the ottoman. i. 

'* So he is very impressible. Not a misfortune in our natural stale, , '" 
^ dare say, but we are not in a natural state. Much to be lamented, 
^o doubt, particularly by myself, who am a cliild of nature if I could 
hut show it; but so it is. Society suppresses us and dominates us — 
^^itd, be quiet ! " 

The parrot had broken into a ^'iolent fit of laughter, after t^n8ting 
^^ers Ws of his cage \nth liis crooked bill, and licking them with his 
hWk tongue. 

** It is quite unnecessary to say to a person of your good sense, wide 
^ge of experience, and cultivated feelings," said !Mrs. Merdle, from 
"W nest of crimson and gold — and there put up her glass to refresh her 
'^wanory as to whom she was addressing, — ** that the stage sometimes 
m a fascination for young men of that class of character. In saying 
the stage, I mean the people on it of the female sex. Tlu^refore, when 
I heard Umt my son was supposed to be fasciuated by a dancer, I knew 
vhat that usually meant in Society, and confided in her Ix^ing a dancer 
at the Opera, whcrcyoung men moving in Society are usually fascinated.'* 



176 LITTLE DORRIT. 

8hc passed her white hands over one another, obseirant of 
sisters now ; and the rings upon her fingers grated against eaeh otil 
with a hard sound. 

" As your sister will tell you, when I found what the theatre ^ 
I was much surprised and much distressed. But when I found l 

Eir sister, hy rejecting my son's advances (I must add, in an tu 
ted manner), had hrought him to the point of proposing mairu 
feelings were of the profoimdest anguish — acute.** 

She traced the outline of her left eyehrow, and put it right. 

" In a distracted condition which only a mother — ^moving in Soc 
^-can he susceptihlo of, I determined to go myself to the tiieatre, 
represent my state of mind to the dancer. I made m}'self knowi 
your sister. I found her, to my surprise, in many respects difSn 
from my expectations ; and certainly in none more so, than in meei 
me with — what shall I say ? — a sort of family assertion on her < 
part ? ** Mrs. Merdle smiled. 

" I told you, ma'am,'* said Fanny, 'with a heightening color, " 1 
although you found me in that situation, I was so far ahove the i 
that I considered my family as good as your son's ; and that I 
a hrother who, knowing the circumstances, would be of the m 
opinion, and would not consider such a connection any honor." 

^* Miss Dorrit,** said Mrs. Merdle, after frostily looking at her thioi 
her glass, ** precisely what I was on the point of telling your sister 
pursuance of your request. Much obliged to you for rocaUiBi 
so accurately, and anticipating me. I immediately,** addressbig la 
Dorrit, *' (for I am tlic creature of impulse), took a bracelet fVom 
arm, and begged your sister to lot me clasp it on hers, in token of 
delight I had in our being able to approach the subject, so far 01 
common footing.** (ITiis was perfectly true, tbo lady having bou 
a cheap and showy article on her way to the interview, 'with a gen< 
eye to briber}\) 

** And I told you, Mrs. Menlle,** said Fanny, '* that we mi 
])e unfortunate, but wort^ not common.** 

*'l think, the very words, Miss Donit," asscnttnl Mrs. Merdle. 

"And I told you, Mrs. Merdle," said Fanny, **that if you sp 
to me of the superiority of your son's standinj^ in Societ}*, it was bai 
possible that you rather deceived yourself in your 8U])positions al 
my origin; and that my father's standing, even in theJSociety in wl 
he now moved (what that was, was l)est kno^Ti to nivself \ was c 
nently supi'rior, and was acknowledged by ever}- one.'* 

*' Quite accurate,** rejoined ^Irs. Merdle. **A most admin 
memorj." 

** Thank you, ma'am. Perhaps you will be so kind as to tell 
sister the i*est.'* 

** Tbere is ver}' little to tell," said ^Irs. ^lerdh', revieA\-ing 
breadth of Iwsoni which seeme<l essential to her ha^'ing room enoi 
to be unfeeling in, ** but it is to your sister s credit. I poin 
out to your sister the plain state of the cas<' ; the im])os.Hibilit\ 
the S(Hiety in which we moved, recognising the Society in which 
moved — though chamiinir, I have no doubt ; the immense disadT 
tage at which she would const-quently place the family she had so l 



UmX DOKBIT. 177 

OB opinion of, upon vhicli vrc should find oui-Hclves coniiicllcd to look 
down iritli contempt, and from which (socially mxaking) we tihould 
fbd obliged to recoil with abhorrence. In short, I made un appeal to 
thotlaac^blc pride in your gistcT." 

"Let mysiBter know, if you picuse, Mm. llcrdlc," Fanny pouted, 
iritk a toes of her ganzy bonnet, " that I had already hud the honor ot' 
tcUisg your Bon that I wiiihed to have nothing whatever to any to him."' 

"Well, Miss Dorrit," aagented Mrs, llerdlc, "perhaps I mi^t 
have mentioned that before. If I did not tliink of it, perhaps it was 
brcauw my mind rercrted to the apprehensions I hod at the time, that 
lie might persevere and you might have something to say to him. I 
aim mentioned to your sister — I again address the non-prof essionni 
Misa Donit — that my sou would have nothing in the event of such a 
mniage, and would be an absolute be^or. (I mention that, merely 
H a fiut which is part of the narrative, and not as supposing it tu 
liave influenced your sister, except in the prudent and legitimate way 
in which, constituted as our artificial tystcm is, ^vo must all be 
inflnenced by such considerations.) rinafiy, after some high words 
■nd high spirit on the part of your sister ; wo come to the complete 
ondentanding that there was no danger; and your sister was so 
' obliging us to allow me to present her with a maik or ti\o of my 
■Ppreciation at my dressmaker' h." 

little Dorrit looked sorry, and glanced at Punny with a troubled 
bet. 

"Also," said Mrs. JTerdlo, "as to promise to give mc the present 
pkinire of a closing interview, and of parting with her on the best of 
tola. On which occasion," added Mrs. MenUe, r|uitdng her nest, and 
pUting Bomcthiog in Fanny's hand, " Miss Dorrit will permit mc to 
••y Farewell with best wishes, in my own dull manner." 

Tbc sisters rose at the same time, and they all stood near the cage 
of the parrot, as be tore at a claw-t'ull of biscuit and saat it out, 
'•'raMd to mock them with a pompous dance of Ium body without 
monng his feet, and suddenly turned himself upside down and trailed 
^'I'Melf all over the outside of his golden cage, with the aid of his 
ttnel beak and bis blaek tongue. 

".Vdien, Miss Dorrit, with best wishes," said Mrs. Merdlc. "If 
*^ conld only eome to-a Millennium, or something of that sort, I for 
""emight have the pleasure of knowing a number of charming and 
**^tcd persons from whom lam at present excluded. A more primitive 
*We of society would be debcious to me. There used to be a poem 
^W I learnt lessons, something about Lo the poor Indian who«^ 
■""lething mijid ! If a fcw thoiiBund pw-sona nioring in Sociotj-, could 
'""J go and be Indians, I would jiut my name down directly ; but as, 
"loving in Society, we can't be Indians, unfoitunately — (lood morning ! " 

They came down stairs ttitli powder before them and })owder behind, 
™* ddcr sirtter haughtj' and the younger sister humbkil, and were 
^Witont into unpowdercd Hurley Htrect, Cavendish Sfjuare. 

"Well?" said Fanny, when they had gone a little way without 
^faldjig. " Have you notliing to say, .\.my V " 

" Oh, I don't know what to say I " '^he answered, distressed. " You 
■wo't like this ywmg man, Fanny ? " 



178 LUTLI DORRTT. 

** Like him ? He is almost an idiot/' 



N 






' '' I am SO sorry— don't be hurt — ^but, since you ask me what I har^ 
to say, I am so very sorry, Eanny, that you suffered this lady to giye 
ou anything." 

'' You little Fool ! " returned her sister, shaking her with the shaip 
pull she gaye her arm. '* Have you no spirit at all ? But that's juat 
the way ! You have no self-respect, you have no becoming pride. Jiut 
as you allow yourself to be followed about by a contcmptiUe little 
Chiver}' of a thing/' with the scomfullest emphaioB, " you would let 
your family be trodden on, and never turn." 

** Don't say that, dear Fanny. I do what I can for them.*' 

*' You do what you can for them ! " repeated Fanny, walking her on 
very fast. *^ Would you let a woman like this, whom you could aee 
if you had any experience of anything to be as false and inaolent as a 
woman can be-+would you let her put her foot upon your famil j» and 
thank her for it? " 

** No, Fanny, I am sure." 

'^(Then make her pay for it, you mean little thing. What elae 
can you make her do ? Make her pay for it, you stupid child; and do 
your family some credit with the money! " 

They spoke no more, aU the way back to the lodging where Fnmy 
and her uncle lived. When they arrived there, they found the old 
man practising his clarionet in the dolefulleet manner in a comer of 
the room. Fanny had a composite meal to make, of chops, and portar^ 
and tea ; and indignantly pretended to prepare it for herself, though her 
sister did aU tliat in quiet renlit}'. When, at last, Fanny sat down 
to cut and drink, she threw tlie table implements about and wa<* angry 
with her bread, much as her father had been last night. 

** If you despise me," she said, buTHting into vehement teers, 
** because I am a dancer, why did you put me in the way of being 
one ? It was 5-our doing. You would have mo stoop as low as the 
ground before thin Mrs. Merdk*, and lot her soy what she like<l and do 
what she liked, and hold us all in contempt, and tell mv so to my fiwe. 
Because I am a dancer! " 

**0 Fanny I'' 

** And Tip too. poor fellow. She is to dis])arage him just as much 
as she likes, Ti-ithout any check — I suppose booausi^ ho has bi'on in the 
law, and the do<ks, and dilforont thinj^. \\Tiy, it was your doing, 
Amy. You mi^ht at least approve of his being defended." 

All this time the undo was dolefully blowing his ohirirmet in the 
comer, sometimes taking it an inch or so from his mouth for a moment 
while ho stopped to gazo at thoni, ^vith a vague inipix'ssion that some> 
body had said something. 

** And your father, your poor father, .\my. lUfanso ho is not firvv. 
to show himsolf and to s]Huik for hinisolf, you would lot such people 
insult him \i-ith impunity. If you don't fool for yourself because 
you go out to work, you might at least fiH'l for him, I should think, 
knowing what ho has undergone so long." 

r<K)r Little Dorrit felt the injustioc of this taimt rather sharply. The 
remembrance of lai^t night addt»d a barlx^d point to it. She .<iaid nothing 
in reply, >)ut turned her chair from the table towards the firo. Uncle, 



LITTLE DORRTT. 179 

after makiiig one more pause, blew a dismal wail and went on 
again. 

Fanny was passionate with the teacups and the bread as long as hcT 
passion lasted, and then protested that she was the T\Tetehodest girl i 
the world, and she wished she was dead. After that, her cxyin 
became rcmorscfid, and she got up and put her arms round her siste^/l"?^ 
little Dorrit tried to stop her from saying anything, but she answered^! 
that she would, she must ! Thereupon she said again, and again, 
"I beg your pardon, Amy," and "Forgive me, Amy,'* almost a.s, 
passionately as she had said what she regretted. / 

•'But indeed, indeed. Amy," she resimied, when they were seated 
in risteErly accord side by side, '* I hope and I think you would have 
seen this differently, if you had known a little more of Society." 
"Perhaps I might, Fanny," said the mild Little Dorrit. 
** You sec, while you have been domestic and resignedly shut up 
there. Amy," pursued her sister, gradually beginning to patronise, 
** I have been out, moving more in Society, and may have been getting 
proud and spirited — ^more than I ought to be perhai)s?" 
little BOTiit answered ** Yes. yes ! " 

*' And while you have been thinking of the dinner or the clothes, I 
laay have been thinking, you know, of the familv. Now, may it not 
be 80, Amy?" 

liittle Dorrit again nodded '* Yes," TN-ith a more cheerful face than \ 
hwttt. ^ 

*' Especially as we know," said Fanny, '* that there certainly is a 
tone in the place to which you have been so true^ which docs belong to \. 
it, and which does make it different from other aspects of Society. So "' 
^isR me once again, Amy dear, and we will agree that wc may both be 
'igjit, and that you are a tranquil, domestic, homc-lo^'ing, good girl." 
The clarionet had been lamenting most pathetically during this 
^ialogue, but was cut short now by Fanny's announcement that it was 
time to go ; which she conveyed to her uncle by shutting up his scrap 
of mxigic, and taking the clarionet out of his mouth. 

Little Dorrit parted from them at the door, and hastened back to the 
^"^arshalsea. It fell dark there sooner than elsewhere, and going into 
^*^ that evening was like going into a deep trench. The shadow of the 
^^«fl was on every object. !Not least, upon the figure in the old grey 
^'^wn and the black velvet cap, as it turned towards her when sho ' 
^pttied the door of the dim room. 

"Why not upon me too ! " thought Little Dorrit, with the dooi* 
5"«*t in her hand. "It was not unreasonable in Fanny." 






180 LmUE DO&&IT. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



Mii. merdle's complaint. 



TJfon that establishment of state, the Merdlc establiithment in Harlcy 
Street, Cavendish Squaix), there was the shadow of no more common 
wall than the fronts of other establishments of state on the oppOBitc 
side of the street. Like unexceptionable Society, tlie opposing rows 
of houses in Harley Street were very grim with one another. Indeed, 
the mansions and their inhabitants were so much alike in that respect, 
that the people were often to be found drawn up on opposite sides of 
dinner-tables, in the shade of their o^-n loftiness, staring at the other 
side of the way with the dullness of the houses. 

Everybody knows how like the street, the two dinner-rows of 
people who take their stand by the street wiU be. The exprcssioiLlcsB 
uniform twenty houses, tdl to be knocked at and rung at in the same 
form, all approachable by the same dull steps, all fended off by the same 
pattern of railing, all wdth the same impracticable fire-escapes, the same 
mconvenient fixtures in their heads, and everything without exocptioii to 
be taken at a high valuation — who has not dined with these ? The hopie 
so drearily out of repair, the occasional bow- window, the staccoed house; 
the newly-fronted house, the comer house ^-ith nothing but owgwl^r 
rooms, the liouse with the blinds always do^-n, the house with the 
hatchment always up, the house where the collector has called for one 
quarter of an Idea, and found nobody at liome — who has not dined 
with these ? Tlie honse that nobody will take, and is to be had a 
bargain — who dois not know her ? The showy house that was taken 
for life by the disiippointed gentleman, and which doesn't suit him at 
all — who is unarcjuainted with that haimted habitation ? 

Harley Street, Cavendish Square, was more than awarcxof Mr. and -^-^" 
Mrs. Merdle. Intniders there were in Harlev Street, of whom it was-^ar .^^ 
not aware ; but Mr. and Mrs. ^lerdle it delighted to honor. 8ociety"""=JC^y 
was aware of Mr. and Mrs. Merdle. Society had said *'Let us 
them ; let us know them." 

Mr. Merdle was immensely rich ; a man of prodiji^ous enterprise ; 
Midas "witliout the ears, who tunuul all he touchwl to gold. He was i 
everything good, from banking to building. He was in Parliament, o 
course. He was in the City, necessarily. He was Chairman of 
Trustee of that, President of the other. The weightiest of men ha^- 
said to projectors, ** Xow, what name have you got? Have yon god:^^^ 
Merdle?" And, the reply Ixang in the negative, had said, **Then ^ 

won't look at vou." 

This gixat and fortunate man had provided that extensive 
which recjuired so much room to be unfeeling enougli in, with a 
of crimson and gold some fifteen yeiu*s before. It was not a bosom 
repose upon, but it was a capital bosom to hang jewels upon. ^^^^2L i 
Merdle wanted something to hang jewels upon, and he bought it *— ^^* ' 






LITTLE DORBIT. 18 

the purpose. StoiT und Mortimor miglit have maiiic^ on the 8amt 
speculation. 

Like all his other speculations, it was sound and successf iil. The 
jewels showed to the richest advantage. The bosom, moving in Society 
"with the jewels displayed upon it, attracted general admiration. Societ}* 
approy-ing, Mr. Merdle was satisfied. He was the most disinterested 
of .mexiyvrrdid everything for Society, and got as little for himself, out 
of all his gain and care, as a man might. 

That is to say, it may be sup|)osed that he got all he wanted, other- 
-wisc with unlimited wealth he would have got it. But his desire was 
to the utmost to satisf}' Society (whatever that was), and take up all 
its drafts upon him for tribute. Ho did not shine in company ; he 
liad not very much to say for himself; ho was a resen'od man, with a 
l>zx>ad, oveiiianging, watchful head, that particular kind of dull red 
color in his cheeks which is rather stale tlian fresh, and a somewhat 
luieasy expression about his coat-cuffs as if they were in his coniidence, 
and had reasons for being anxious to hide his hands. In the little he 
suddy he was a pleasant man enough ; plain, emphatic about public 
and private confidence, and tenacious of the utmost deference being 
fliiown by every one, in all things, to Society. In this same Society 
(i£ that were it which came to his dinners, and to Mrs. Merdle's recep- 
tions and concerts), he hanlly seemed to enjoy hims<»lf much, and was 
mostly to be found against wtdls and behind doors. Also when he 
.^'ent oat to it, instead of its coming home to liim, he seemed a little 
fatigoed, and upon the whole rather more dii^posed for be<l ; but he was 
alwayB cultivating it nevertheless, and always moviDg in it, and always 
laying out money on it with the greatest liberality. 

Mn. Merdle*s first husband had In^en u c-olonel, uiuler whose auspices 

the bosom had entered into competition with the snows of ^North 

America, and had come off at littk* disadvantaji^e in point of wliiteness, 

Mid at none in poifit of coldness. The colonel's son was Mrs. !Merdle*8 

only child. He was of a chiickle-lieaded liigli-sliouldered make, with 

a general appearance of being, not so much a young man as a swelled 

wy. He had given so few signs of ix-ason, that a byewoi-d went among 

^ companions that his brain had bivn frozen up in a mighty frost 

^bich preA~ailed at Saint John's. New lininswick, at the pcnod of his 

^irth there, and had never thawed from that lionr. Another byeword 

'^prwcnted him as having in his infancy, tlirough the negligence of a 

'Wttse, fallen out of a high window on his head, which had Ix'cn heard 

V responsible "witnesses to crack. It is pro])able that both thesis 

'^pfpsentations were of ex post facto oiigin ; the young gentleman 

'^▼ioBC expressive name was Sparkler) Iwing mononianiacal in offering 

^*>anriage to all nuinner of imdesirable young ladies, and in remarking 

^f <^ery successive young ladj' to whom he tendc^rcd a matrimonial 

Proposal that she was " a doosed fine gal — well educated too^with no 

^'iggodd nonsense al)out her.'' 

A K>n-in-law, with these limited talents, might have been a clog upon 
^JJother man ; but "Mr, Merdle did not want a son-in-law for himself ; 
JV wanted a son-in-law for Society. !Mr. Sparkler having been in the 
^^lUffds, and being in the habit of fre(iuenting all the races, and all the 
■^HttgM, and all the i)arties, and being well known. Society was 



182 UTTUB DO&BIT. 

Matisfied with its son-in-law. This happy result Mr. Merdlc would 
have considcRHl well attained, though Mr. Sparkler had been a morn 
Gjcpenaive article. And he did not get Mr. Sparkler by any means 
cheap for Society, even as it was. 

There was a dinner giving in the Harley Street establiBhment^ while 
Little Dorrit wajs stitching at her father's new shirts by his side that 
night ; and there were magnates from the Court and magnates from the 
City, magnates from the Commons and magnates from the Lords, 
magnates from the bench and magnates from the bar, Bishop magnates, 
Tr^ury magnates, Horse Guards magnates. Admiralty magnateSj — 
all the magnates that keep lis going, and sometimes trip us up. 

« I am told,'' said Bishop magnate to Horse Guards, ** that Mr. Merdk 
has made another enormous hit. They say a hundred thousand i>oundB." 

Horse Guards had heard two. 

Treasury had heard three. 

Bar, hajidling his persuasive double eye-glass, was by no meani 
clear but that it might be four. It was one of those happy strokes ol 
calculation and combination, the result of which it was difiksult ta 
estimate. It was one of those instances of a comprehensivo gnmp^ 
associated with habitual luck and characteristic boldness, of which an 
age presented us but few. But here was Brother Bellows, who had 
been in the great Bank case, and who could probably tell us mcne. 
What did Brother Bellows put this new success at? 

Brother Bellows was on his way to make his bow to the bosom, and 
could only toll them in passing that he had heard it stated, with great 
appearance of truth, us boing worth, from first to lust, hulf-a-niillion d 
money. 

Admiralty said Mi'. Merdli* was a wonderful num. Treasury said 
he was a new power in the country, and would be able to buy up the 
whole House of Commons. Bishop said he was ^lad to think that thb- 
wcalth llowcd into the coffers of a j^eutlemun who was always disponed 
to maintain the best interests of So<.iet}'. 

Mr. !Merdle himself was usually late on these oeeiisions, us a man 
still detained in the clutch of giuut enteii)risi?s when other men had 
slutkcTi off their dwarfs for the day. ( )n this occasi(m, he was the last 
arrival. Treasiuy said Meitlle's work punished hiiu a little. Bishop 
siiid he was glad to think that this wealth flowed into the coffers of a 
gentleman who accepted it with meekness. 

Powder I There was no much Powder in waiting;, that it flavored the 
dinner. Pulverous ]jart icles p*t into the (li>hes, and Society's meats had a 
st^asoninjj of first-rate i'ootnu*n. Mr. Merdh^ took down a countess who 
was secluded somewhere in tlu' lore of an immense dress, to which she 
was in the proportion of the heart to the overgrown < abbage. If so 
low a simile niavhe admitted, the dress went down the stairea.se like u 
richlv broeaded Jack in the Green, and nobodv knew what sort of amall 
person camid it. 

S<KietA' had everything it could want, and vould not want, fbi 
dinner. It had everything to look at, and ever\lhinjj; to eat, and 
everything to <lrink. It is to ))e hoped it iiijoy^-d itt^Jf; lor Mr. 
Merdlc's own share of tlui rejKist mi<^ht have )>ei'n paid for with 
eighteenfK.iKe. Mr*. Merdle was nuigniticent. The chief* butler wafl 



LITTLE DOBBTT. 183 

the next magnificent institution of the day. He -was the stateliest 
man in company. He did nothing, hut he looked on as lew other men 
eould have done. He was Mr. Merdle's last gift to Society. Mr. Merdle 
didn't want him, and was put out of countenance when the great 
creature looked at him ; hut inappeasahlc Society would have hun — 
jwd had got him. 

The inyisihle countess carried out the Green at the usual stage of 
tlie entertainment, and the file of heauty w^as closed up by the bosom. 
Treaoury said, Juno. Bishop said, Judith. 

Bar fell into discussion with Horse Guards concerning courts-martial. 
3rother Bellows and Bench struck in. Other magnates paired off. 
Mr. Merdle sat silent, and looked at the table-cloth. Sometimes a 
magnate addressed him, to turn the stream of his own peuticular 
discuflfiion towards him; but Mr. Merdle seldom gave much attention 
to ity or did more than rouse himself from his calculations and pass 
tlie wine. 

When they rose, so many of the magnates had something to say to 
r. Merdle individually, that he held little levees by the sideboard, 
and checked them off as they went out at the door. 
1^ Treasur}' hoped he might venture to congratulate one of England's 
warld-fiBaned capitalists and mcrchant-princcK (he had turned that 
original sentiment in the house a few times, imd it came easy to him) 
on a new achievement. To extend the triumphs of such num, was to 
extend the triumphs and resources of the nation ; and Treasury felt — 
he gave Mr. Merdle to understand — patriotic on the subject. 
. '* Thank you, my lonl," said Mr. Merdle; ** thank you. I accept 
your congratulations with piide, and I am glad you approve." 

"Why, I don't unreservedly approve, my dear Mr. Merdle. 
Because," smiling Trcsasury turned liini by the ann towards the side- 
ooard and spoke banteriugly, '* it lu^ver can be worth your while to 
^me among us and help us." 

Mr. Merdle felt honored bv the 

** No, no," said Tn^asurv, ** that is not th(j light in which one so 
^distinguished for practical knowledge, and great foresight, can be 
^^pccted to regard it. If we sliould ever be happily enabled, by 
Accidentally possessing the control over circumstances, to ])ropose to 
pile 60 eminent to — to come among us, and give us the wc^ight of his 
^^nencc, knowledge, and character, we could only propose it to him 
^ a duty. In fact, as a duty that he owvd to Society." 
. Mr. Merdle intimated that Society was the apple of his eye, and that 
its claims were paramount to ev»Ty other consideration. Treasury 
*^ved on, and Bar came up. 

Bar, with his little insinuating Jury di-oop, and lingering his persuasive 

^<Hible cye-glaas, hoped he might be excused if he mentioned to one of 

^*^ greatest converters of the root of all evil into tlie rootof iiU good, who 

^^ for a long time reflected a shining lustre on the annals even of our 

J^iUnicrcial country — ^if he mentioned, disinterestedly, and as, what wc» 

^^9yen called in our pedantic way, amicus curia', a fact that had come 

7^ accident within his knowledge. H(^ had been ivijuired to look over 

1^ title of a very considerable estate in one of the eastern counties — 

^Uig^ -in £eust, for Mr. Merdle knew we lawyers loved to be particular, 

^^ the borders of t^'o of the eastern connties. Now, the title woi?. 



184 LITTLE DO&RIT. 

periectly sound, and tlic cstaU* was to be pure-hosed by one who had 
tho command oi^ — Monc}' (Jury droop and x)cr8uasivo cTC-ghuw), on 
rcmariuibly advantageous terms. This had eomc to Bar*8 knowledge 
only that day, and it had occurred to him ** I shall haye the honor of 
dining with my esteemed ftiend Mr. Merdlo tliis eyening, and, strietly 
between ourselves, I will mention the opportunity." Such a ptuchise 
would involve not only great legitimate political influence, but tame 
half-dozen church presentations of considerable annual value. Now, 
that Mr. MenUe was already at no loss to discover means of occupying 
even liis capital, and of fully employing even his active and vigonNu 
intellect, Bar well knew : but he would venture to suggest that tbe 
question arose in his mind, whether one who had deservedly gained so 
high u position and so European a reputation did not owe it — wc would 
not say to hiiiiscli', but wc would say to ISoiiety, to pomess himself of 
such influences as these ; and to exercise them — we would not say for 
his oA^Ti, or for his party's, but we would say for Societj''s — ^benefit. 

'yjir, Merdlc again expressed himself as wholly devoted to that object 
of his constant consideration, and Bar took his penmanve eye-glan up 
the grand staircase. Bishop then came undesignedly sliding in the 
directian of the sideboard. 

Surely the goods of this world, it occurred in an accidental way to 
Bishop to remark, could scarcely be directed into happier channds 
than when they accumulated under the magic touch of the wise and 
sagacious, who, while they knew the just value of riches (Bishop tried 
here to look as if he were rather jKwr himself), were aware of their 
importance, judiciously governed and rightly distributwl, to the wel- 
fare of our brethren at large. 

^[r. Merdlo with humility oxpreswKl hi8 con\*iction that Bishop 
couldn't mean him, and with inconsistency expressed his high grati- 
tication in Bishop's good opinion. 

Bishop then — jauntily stopping out a little with his well-shaped 
light leg, as though he said to Mr. Merdlo ** don't mind tho apron ; a 
more form I'* — put this case to his go<Kl friend : 

Whether it had occiuto<1 to his good friend, that Society might not 
imrcasonably hope that one so blest in his undertakings, an<l whose 
example on his ])od<'stal was so influential with it. woidd slu'd u little 
money in tho diro<'tion of a mission or so to Africa ? 

Mr. Merdlo signifying that the idea should have his bt^st attention, 
Bi"*hop put another case : 

"WTiothor his good friend had at all interested himself in the pro- 
eeo<ling8 of our Combined Additional Kiidowe<l Dignitaries Coramittei*. 
:iii(l whether it had occunod to him that to shinl a little money in 
f/'<tt dir(»ction might bo a gi-oat conception finely exi'cutod ^ 

^rr. Menlle made a similar reply, and Bishop explainiHl his niison 
for ('uquiring. 

Society looki*d to such men as his gcmd friend to do such things. It 
was not that ///• looked to them, but that S<x:iety l(M)kod to them. Jurt 
as it was not Our Committee who wanted the Additional Endowed IHgni- 
taries, but it was Society that was in a state of the most agimising 
un(>a8inoss of mind until it got them. He Ix^gged to assun^ his good 
friend, that ho was <'xtremoly wnsiblo of his gotnl frii nil's ri'gard on all 
occasions fnr tlu* Ix'sf interests of Swietv; and ho considoR-d that he 



LITTLE DORRIT. 185 

at onco oonsnlting those interests, and expressing the feeling of 
t'^ociety, when he wished him continued prosperity, continued increase 
cvf richefly and continued things in general. 

Biahop then betook himself up stairs, and the other magnates 
j^raduallj floated up after him until there was no one left below but 
3Ir. Meidle. That gentleman, after looking at the table-cloth imtil the 
0O11I of the chief butler glowed with a noble resentment, went slowly 
rrp after the rest, and became of no account in the stream of people on 
X.'hB g;rand staircase. Mrs. Merdle was at home, the best of the jewels 
^vrero hung out to be seen, Society got what it came for, !Mr. Merdle 
drank twopennyworth of tea in a comer and got more than he wanted. 
Among the evening magnates was a famous physician, who knew 
crveiybody, and whom everybody know. On entering at the door, he 
came upon Mr. Merdle dnnking his tea in a comer, and touched 
liim on the ann. 

Mr. Merdle started. "Oh! It's you!" 
" An V better to^y ?" 
«' No/' said Mr. Merdle, " I am no l>cttor." 

" A pity I didn't sec you this morning. Fruy come to me to-morrow, 
or let me come to you." 

** "Well!" he replied. " I will como to-morrow as I drive by." 
Bar and Bishop had both been bystanders during this short didogue, 
and as Mr. Merdle was swept away by the crowd, tli(T made their 
Tcinaiks upon it to the Phj-sician. Bar said, there was a certain 
point of mental strain lx»yond which no man could go ; that the point 
varied with various textures of brain and peculiarities of constitution, 
a« ho had had occasion to notice in 8cv(»ral of his learned brothers ; but, 
^He ^int of endurance passed by a line's breadth, depression and 
dyspepsia ensued. Not to intrude on the sacred mysteries of medicine, 
He took it, now (with the Jury droop and persuasive eye-glass), 
^hat this was Merdle's case* ? Bishop said that when he was a young 
'^ian, and had fidlen for a brief space into the habit of A\'riting sermons 
^ Saturdays, a habit which all young sons of the church should sedu- 
lously avoid, he had frequently been sensible of a depression, arising 
^ he supposed from an overtaxed intellect, upon which the yolk of a 
^usw-laid egg, beaten uj) by the good woman in A\'hose house he at that 
^^c lodged, Tiith a glass of sound sherr}-, nutmeg, and powdered sugar, 
®<5ted like a charm. Without presuming to offer so simple a remedy 
^ the consideration of so profound a professor of the great healing art, 
he would venture to enquire whether the strain, being by way of intri- 
cate calculations, the spirits might not (humanly speaking) be restored 
to their tone h\* a gentle and yet generous stimidaiit ? 

'* Yes," saicf the physician, " yes, you arc both right. But I may as 

^oll teU you that I can find nothing the matter with Mr. Merdle. 

no has the constitution of a rhinoceros, the digestion of an ostrich, and 

-•^Qfi uoncentration of an oyster. As to iien-es, Mr. IMenlle is of a cool 

""^^pcrament, and not a sensitive man : is about as iuvidnerable, I 

''tioald say, as Achilles. How such a man should siii)po8e himself 

^Hwrfl without reason, vou may think strange. But 1 have found 

JJjfting the matter with Kim. He may have some deep-seated recon- 

2**^ complaint. I can't say. I only sav, that at present I have not 

'^^and it out." 



*c 



186 ULTTJLB BOBJUT. 

There 'wm uo shadow of Mr. Merdle's complaint on the b oiCM 
no w digplayin g prpf^innw ghmna in rivalry with many similar sapoii 
jewel-stands; there was no shadow of Mr. Merdle's o(»nplaint on 
yonng Sparkler hovering about the rooms, monomaniacaUy seckiiig any 
sufficiently ineligible young lady with no nonsense about her ; ihen 
was no shadow of Mr. Merdle's complaint on the Barnacles and Stili> 
stalkings, of whom whole colonies were present; or on any of the 
company. Even on himself, its shadow was faint enough as he mored 
about among the throng, receiving homage. 

Mr. Mcrdle's complaint. Society and he had so much to do with 
one another in all things else, that it is hard to imagine his complaint, 
if he had one, being solely his own aiSedr. Had he that decp-ae«ted 
recondite complaint, and did any doctor find it out ? Patience. la 
the meantime, the shadow of the Marshalsea wall was a real darkeniiig 
influence, and could be seen on the Borrit Family at any stage of the 
sun's course. 



CHAPTEE XXII. 



A PUZZLE. 



Mil. Cij-:nxa>i did not increase in favor with the Father of the Mar- 
shalsea in the ratio of his increa^sinj; visits. His obtuseness on the 
great Testimonial question was not calculated to awaken admiration in 
the paternal breast, but had rather a tendency to give offence in that 
sensitive quarter, and to b(? regarded as a i)ositive shortcoming in point 
of gentlemanly feeling. An impression of disappointment, occasioned 
by the discover}- that Mr. Clcnnam scarcely possessed that delicacy for 
which, in the confidence of his nature, he had bei'U inclined to give 
him cnjdit, b<*gan to darken the fatherly mind in connection with that 
gentleman. The father went so far as to say, in his private family 
circle, that he feared Mr. Clennam was not a man of high instincts. 
He was happy, he obs(»r\-ed, in his public capacity tis leader and^ 
representative of the College, to n'ceiv(^ Mr. Clennam when he called^ 
to pay his respects ; but he didn't find that he p:ot on with him per-- 
sonolly. lliere appeared to be something (he didn't know what it^ 
wa.i) wanting in him. Howl)eit, the father did not fail in any out- 
ward show of politeness, hut, on the contrar}-, honored him with mucbtf 
attention ; j)erhaps cherishing th(» ho])e that, although not a man of m 
sufficiently brilliant and s])ontane()us turn of mind to repeat his formeia 
testimonial unsolicited, it might still be within the compa« of hi« 
nature to lx*ar the part of a res])onsive gentleman, in any corn?spondenc«fe 
that way tending. 

In the threefold capacity, of the gentleman from outside who haiE 
iK'en accidentidly locked in on the nij^ht of his first ap|>earanee, of the 
gentleman fnmi outside who had enquired intx) the affiiii'sof the Fathetf 
of the Miirshalsia with the stu]H'ndous idea of getting him out, and oA 
the gentleman from outside who took an interest in the child of the: 
Marshid^^eu, ('lennam soon InM-ame a visitor t»f mark. He was not mr^ 



LITTLB Dos&rr. 187 

prifiod by tli(5 attentions he received from Mr. Chivciy when that 
officer was on the lock, for he made little distinction between Mr. 
Chirery's politeness and that of the other turnkeys. It was on one 
particular afternoon that Mr. Chivcry surprised him all at once, and 
fitood forth from his companions in bold rdief. 

Mr. Chivery, by some artful exercise of his power of clearing 

Che Lodge, had contrived to rid it of all sauntering Collegians ; so 

-thai Qennam, coming out of the prison, should find him on duty alone. 

" (Private) I ask your pardon, sir," said Mr. Chivery in a secret 

xxianner; ** but which way might you be going ? " 

''I am going oyer the Bridge." He saw in Mr. Chivery, with 
ome astonishment, quite an Allegor}' of Silence, as he stood with his 
ey on his lips. 
" (Private) I ask your pardon again," said Mr. Chivcry, "but could 
'«u go round by Horsemonger Lane ? Could you by any means find 
une to look in at that address ? " handing him a little card, printed for 
ijrculation among the connection of Chivery- and Co. Tobacconists, 
Knporters of pure Havannah Cigars, Bengal Cheroots, and fine-flavored 
O^xibaB, Dealers in Fancy Snuffs, &c. &c. 

" (Private) It an't tobacco business," said Mr. Chivcry. *' The 
is, it's my wife. She's wishful to say a word to you, sir, upon 
point respecting — yes," said Mr. Chivery, answering Cleunam's look 
apprehension with a nod, " respecting //^r." 
" I will make a point of seeing your wife directly." 
" Thank you, sir. Much obliged. It an't above ten minutes out of 
way. Please to ask for Mrs. Chivery I " These instructions, Mr. 
ivery, who had already let him out, cautiously callcnl through a 
■ittle slide in the outer door, which he could draw back from Avithin 
for the inspection of visitors, when it pleased him. 

Arthur Clennam, with the card in his hand, betook himself to the 
address set forth upon it, and 8i)cedily arrived there. It was a very 
^mall establishment, wherein a decent woman sat behind the counter 
Working at her needle. Little jars of t^)bacco, little boxes of cigars, a 
kittle assortment of pipes, a little jar or two of snuff*, and a little 
^Jistrumcnt like a shoeing-hom for sending it out, composed the retail 
Btock in trade. 

Arthur mentioned his name, and his having promised to call, on the 
^licitation of Mr. Chivery. About something reflating to Miss Dorrit, 
*^ believed. Mrs. Chivery at once laid aside hvr work, rose up from 
*^ seat behind the counter, and deploringly shook her head. 

"You may see him now," said she, " if j'ou'U condesc<?nd to take a 

With these mysterious words, she preceded the A-isitor into a little 
l*8rlor behind the shop, with a little window in it commanding a 
^'Wy little dull back-ysffd. In this yard, a wash of sheets and table- 
^Jofiis tried (in vain, for want of air) to get itself dried on a line or 
^•'^0; and among those flapping articles was sitting in a chair, like the 
**8t mariner left alive on tiie deirk of a damp ship without the power of 
^iitling the sails, a little woe-])egone young man. 

" Our John," said Mrs. Chivery. 

Sot to be deficient in interest, Clennam asked what li(i might be 
<Ifli]ig there ? 



188 ' LITTLE DOSIUT. 

** It's the only change he takes," said Mrs. Chivcn% shaking h 
head afresh. ** He won't go out, even in the back yard, when then 
no linen ; but when there's linen to keep the neighbours' eyes off, he 
sit there, hoiirs. Hours, he will. Says he feels as if it was groves ! 
Mrs. Chiver}' shook her head again, put her apron in a motherly wi 
to her eyes, and reconducted her visitor into the regions of the bunnei 

** Please to take a seat, sir," said Mrs. Chivery. '' Mias Donit 
the matter with Our John, sir ; he's a breaking his heart for her, m 
1 would wish to take the libert}' to ask how it's to be made good 
his parents when bust ? " 

Mrs. Chivery, who was a comfortable-looking woman, much respect 
about Horsemonger Lane for her feelings and her conversation, utten 
this speech with fell composure, and immediately afterwards begj 
again to shake her head and dry her eyes. 

** Sir," said she in continuation, **you are acijuainted with tl 
family, and have interested yourself with the family, and are influenti 
with the family. If you can promote views calculated to make ti 
young people happy, let me, for Our John's sake, and for both thi 
sakes, implore you so to do." 

" I have been so habituated," returned Arthur, at a loss, ** durii 
the short time I have known her, to consider Little — I have been 
habituated to consider Miss Borrit in a light altogether removed fhi 
that in which you present her to me, that you quite take me by n 
prise. Does she know your son ?" 

'* Brought up together, sir," said Mi*s. Chivery. ** Ployed together 

^* Does she know vour son as her admirer ? " 

*' Oh ! bless you, sir," said Mi-s. ('hivor)-. with a sort of triumpha 
»*hivcr, **she never could have soon him on a Sundav >nth<)ut knowi 
he was that. His cane alone would liavo told it lonj^ ap^o, if nothii 
else had. Younj? men like John don't take to ivorj- hands a pintin 
for nothing. How did I first know it myself? Similarly." 

*' Perhaps Miss Dorrit may not be so ready as you, you stv." 

** Tlien she knows it, sir," said Mi-s. Chiver}*, '*l)y word of mouth 
• ** Are you sure?" 

** Sir," said Mrs. Chivcn*. ** sure and rei-tain as in this house I a: 
I se<' my son go out with my own cjes whon in this house I m*j 
and I see my son come in ^witli my own eyes when in this house 
was, and I know he d(me it I " Mrs. Cliiveiy derived a surprisi 
force of emphasis from the forejjoinjj: ein unistantiality and rejK'tition 

**May I ask you how ho earner to fall into the desponding sti 
which cau.sos vou so much imeasiness ? " 

•r 

**niat," said Mrs. Chivor}% ** took place on that same day when 
this house I see that John with these eves rctuni. Never \kh'U hims 
in this house since. Never was like what he has been since, not frOhit 
hour when to this hou8i> seven year aj^o nie and his father, as tenu 
by the quarter, came! " An effect in the nature of an affidavit was gaiB 
for this speech, by Mrs. Chivcrj-'s ])ceuliar power of construction. 
** May I venture to enciuire what is your version of the matter? " 
** You may," said Mrs. Chiveiy, *' and I will jnve it you in hoi 
and in word as true as in this sho]) 1 stand. Our John has eve 
one's good word and ever)- one's good wish. He ])laye<l M-ith her 
a child when in that yard a child she played. H(» has known her e^ 



UTTLB DORKIT. 189 

since. He went out upon the Sunday afternoon when in this very 
parlor he had dined, and met her, M*ith appointment or without appoint- 
ment, which I do not pretend to say. He made his offer to her. 
Her brother and sister is high in their views, and against our John. 
Her father is all for himself in his views, and against sharing her with 
any one. Under which circumstances she has answered our John, 'No, 
John, I cannot have you, I cannot have any husband, it is not my 
intentions ever to become a i^dfe, it is my intentions to be always 
a sacrifice, farewell, find another worthy of you, and ibrget me ! ' 
This is the way in which slie is doomed to be a constant slave, to them 
that arc not worthy that a constant slave she unto them should be.j 
Qliis is the way in which our John has come to find no pleasure but 
In taking cold among the linen, and in showing in that yard, as in that 
•yard I have myself shoMH you, a broken down ruin that goes home to 
liis mother's heart ! '' Here the good woman pointed to the little 
^mndow, whence her son might be seen sitting disconsolate in the tune- 
less groves ; and again shook her head and wiped her eyes, and besought 
'^■iTOj for the united sakes of both the young people, to exercise hi.^ 
izifluence towards the bright reversal of these dismal events. 

She was so confident in her exposition of the case, and it was so 

ixndeniably founded on correct premises in so far as the relative posi- 

;^<ms of Little Dorrit and her family were concerned, that Clennam 

foo lriidliotleel positive on the other side. He had come to attach to little 

jDoxTit an interest so peculiar — au inti?ivst that removed her from, while 

it grew out of, the common and course things suiTounding her — that he 

£ound it disappointing, disagreeable, almost painful, to suppose her in 

love livith young Mr. Chivery in the back yard, or any such person. On 

tJie other liand, he reasoned with himself that she was just its good and 

just as true, in love with liim, as not in love with him ; and that to 

xnake a kind of domesticated fairj- of her, on the penalty of isolation at heart 

from the only people she knew, would bo but a weakness of Ids own 

fkncy, and not a kind one. Still, her youthful and ethereal appearance, 

lu?r timid manner, the charm of her sensitive voice and eyes, the 

very many respects in which she had interested him out of her own 

individuality, and the strong difference between herself and those 

*bout her, wert*. not in unison, and were determined not to be in 

^uiiaon, with this newly-presented idea. 

He told the worthy Mrs. Chiveiy, after turning these things over 

tn his iiiind — he did that, indeed, while she was yet speaking — that 

he might be relied upon to do his utmost at all times to promote^ 

tlio happiness of Miss Donit, and to further the wishes of her heart 

^ it were in his power to do so, and if he could dLscover what they 

^ore. At the same time, he cautioned her against assumptions and 

•ppvranccs; enjoined strict silence and sccrcsy, lest Miss Dorrit 

"koidd be made unhappy ; and particularly adnscd her to endeavour 

"^ win her son's confidence, and so to make (juite sui-e of the statt^ 

^the case. Mrs. Chivery considered the latter pix*caution super- 

^Uoas, but said she would try. She shook her head as if she had not 

^v«il all the comfort she had fondly expected from this interview, 

out thanked him nevertheless for the trouble he had kindly taken. 

^Wthcn parted good friends, and Arthur walk<Hl away. 

loe crowd in the street jostling the crowd in his mind, and 



190 LTITLV DOKBIT. 

the two crowds making a confdsion, he avoided London Bridge, and 
turned off in the quieter direction of the Iron Bridge. He had acarcelj 
set foot, upon it, when he saw Little Doirit waging on before him. 
It was a pleasant day, with a light breeze blowing, and she seemed to 
have that minute come there for air. He had Id^ her in her iather^s 
room within an hour. 

It was a timely chance, favorable to his wish of observing her fiioe 
and manner when no one else was by. He quickened his pace; bat, 
before he reached her, she turned her head. 

"Have I startled you?*' he asked. 

'* I thought I knew the step," she answered, hesitating. 

"And did you know it, Little Dorrit? You could hardly have 
expected mine.'' 

" I did not expect any. But when I heard a step, I liioaght it — 
sounded like yours." 

" Are you going further ? " 

"No, sir, I am only walking here for a little change." 

They walked together, and she recovered her confiding manner with 
him, and looked up in his face, as she said, after glancing around : 

" It is 80 strange. Pcrht^ you can hardly understand it. I Bome- 
times have a sensation as if it was almost unfeeling to walk here ? " 

"Unfeeling?" 

" To see the river, and so much sky, and so many objects, and radi 
change and motion. Then to go back, you know, and &id him ia 
the same crampe<l place." 

** Ah yes ! But goinp Ijjick, you must n^mcmber that you take with 
you the spirit and intluoiico of Buch things, to cheer him." 

" Do I ? T hope I may ! T am afraid you fancy too much, sir. and 
moke me out too powerful. If you wore in prison, could I bring such 
comfort to vou ? " 

" Yes, Little Dorrit. I am sure of it ! " 

He gjithere<l from a tremor on her lip, and a ])a8sinp: fihad«>w of great 
jip^tation on her face, that her mind was with lior father. He remained 
silent for a few moments, that she mijrht regain her eomi)osure. The 
Little Dorrit, trembling on liis arm, was less in unison than ever with 
Mrs. Oliver}-' s theory', and yet was not irreconcilable with a new £uicy 
which sprunj^ uj) within him, that there mijrht Iw some one else, in the 
hopeless — newer fancy still — in the hopeless unattainable distance. 

They turned, and ('lennam said. Here was Maprg}* coming! Little 
Dorrit looked up, suq)risc<l, and they confronted Magjry, who brought 
herself at sight of them to a dead stoj). She had Intn twtting along, 
so prc<Kcupied and busy, that slic had not recoji^nised them until they 
turned upon her. She was now in a moment so conscience-stricken, 
tliat her \or\ l)asket parti n»k of tlie change. • 

*' !Maggy, you jmjmiscnl me to stop near father." 

** S<» 1 wouhl. Little Mother, only h«* wouhlnl let me. If he take* 
and sends mv out 1 must ffo. If he takes and savs, * Mu«:<r> . vou hurrr 
away and luick with that letter, and yiai sludl liavc a six]H'nee if the 
answer's a gcKul 'un,^ I must take it. Lor, Little Mother, what's a poor 
thinj; of tc*n year old to doV And if Mr. Tip — if he happens to be a 
eominj: in as I come out, and if he says, * AVhen^ an* you a goiug, Maggy?' 
and if I says. *Vm a going So and So.' and if he says. * I'll have a Trj- 



LITTLE DOBRIT. 191 

too/ and if he goes into the George and writes a letter, and if he giv(s» 
it mt and says, ' Take that one to the same place, and if the anstrerV 
a. good 'im 111 give yon a shilling/ it ain't my fault, mother I " 

Arthur read, in Little Dorrit's downcast eyes, to whom she foresaw 
lat the letters were addressed. 

" Fm a going So and So. There ! That's where I am a going to," 
Maggy. '* Tm a going So and So. It anH you, Little Mother, 
"t. l^at^s got anything to do with it — ^it's you, you know," said Maggy, 
cft^^ldressing i^ithur. " You*d hotter come. So and So, and let me take 
id give 'em to you." 

"We will not be so particular as that, Maggy. Give them me here," 
IdClennam, in a low voice. 

" "Well, then, come across the road, "answcrtd Maggy, in a very loud 
'liuper. " Little Mother wasn't to know nothing of it, and she 
raid never have known nothing of it if you had only gone. So and So, 
ixu9tead of bothering and loitering about. It ain't my fault. I must 
what I am told. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for 



me/' 



Clennam crossed to the other side, and hurriedly opened the letters. 
^Fliat firom the &ther, mentioned that most unexpectedly finding 
^limself in the novel position of having been disappointed of a 
remittance firom the City on whicth he had confidently counted, he took 
^p his pen, being restrainetl by tlic unhappy circumstance of his incar- 
Oetatioa doling three and twenty yeai-s (doubly imderHncd), from 
<^<niuiig himself, as he would otherwise certainly have done — took up 
^ pen to entreat Mr. Clennam to ad^■aTlce him the sum of Three 
loQnds Ten Shillings upon his I. 0. IT., which he bejjgcd to enclose. 
Ibat from the son, set forth that Mr. Clennam would, he knew, Im> 
9Ktxfied to hear that he had at length obtained jHTmanent €'mplo3rment of 
a highly satisfactor}' nature, accompanied ^nth every prospect of com- 
pete success in life ; but that the temporarj- inability of his employer 
^0 pay him his arrears of salary* to that date (in which condition said 
*^ployer had appealed to that generous forbearance in which he tnisted 
*ie dkotdd never be wanting towards a feUow-crcatun^), combined with 
^1» frandnlent conduct of a false friend, and the present high price of 
pnrigionB, had reduced him to the verge of ruin, unless he could by a 
^Urter before six that evening raise the sum of eight pounds. This 
•>nn, Mr. Clennam would be happy to learn, he had, through the 
Promptitude of several friends who had a lively confidence in his 
Pwbity, already raised, with the exception of a trifiing bnlance of ono 
^onnd seventeen and fburpenco; the loan of which bahmce, for the 
p«T6d of one month, would be fraught i^-itli tlie usual beneficent conse- 
quences. 

These letters Clennam answered -with the aid of his pencil and 

pocket-book, on the spot ; sending the father what he asked for, and 

excusing himself from compliance Avith the demand of the son. He 

then oommiseioned Maggj- to n»tuni with his replies, and gave her the 

riiilling of which the failure of lier supplemental enterprise would have 

disappointed her otherwise. 

When he rdoined Little Dorrit, and they had bc^un walking as 
l>efore, she said all at once : 
" I think I had better go. I had better go home.'' 



192 LIITLU D0£B1T. 

" Don*t be distressed/* said Clennam. " I have answered the Icttci 
They were nothing. You know what they were. They were nothing 

''But I am a£»id," she i*etumed, ** to leave him, I am afraid 
leave any of them. When I am gone, they pervert — but they doi 
mean it---even ITaggy/* 

'' It was a very innocent commission that she imdertook, poor thin 
And in keeping it secret irom you, she sup][)08ed, no doubt, that & 
was only saving you uneasiness." 

** Yes, I hojK) BO, I hope so. But I had better go home! It w 
but the other day that my sister told me I had become so lued 
the prison that I had its tone and character. It must be so. I am m 
it must be when I see these things. My place is there. I am bett 
there. It is imfceling in me to be here when I can do the leai>t tfaii 
there. Good bye. I had £ax better stay at home ! " 

The agonised way in wldch she poured this out as if it burst of itic 
from her suppressed heart, made it difficult for Clennam to keep tl 
tears from his eyes as he saw and heard her. 

*' Don't call it home, my child ! " he entreated. '' It is alwa^ 
painfrd to me to hear you call it home.'' 

''But it is home! What else can I call home ? Why should I evi 
forget it for a single moment ? " 

" You never do, dear Little Dorrit, in any good and true service." 

" I hope not, 1 hope not ! But it is better for me to stay then 
much better, much more dutiful, much happier. Please don't go wit 
me, let me go by myself. Good bye. God bless you. Thank yoi 
thank vou." 

He tclt that it was bettor to ro.-pc<t her entreat)-, and did not mo\ 
while her slight form went (juickly away from liim. Wlien it lia 
fluttered out of sight, he turned his face towards tlie water, and stoc 
thinking. 

She would have l)een distressed at any time by thin discovery of tl: 
letters ; but so much so, and in that unrest rainable way y 

No. 

When she had seen her father licgjring with liis threadbare disgui: 
on, when she had entreated him not to give her father money, slio Iil 
been distn'ssed, but not like tliis. Something had made her keenly am 
additionally sensitive just now. Now, was there some one in the honi 
less unattainable distance ^ Or had the susjncion been brought into 1: 
mind, by his own assoc'iationsof the troubled river niiuiing beneath t£ 
bridge M-ith the same river higher up, its changeless tune U])on tf 
pix)w of the ferr}'-boat, so many miles an horn* tlie j)eaceful flowing 
the stream, here the nishes, there the lilies, nothing uncertuin or u- 
quiet ? 

He thought of his poor child, Little Dorrit, for n long time ther" 
ho thought of her, going home ; he thought of her m tlie night ; 
thought of her when the day came ixnuid again. .Vnd the poor eh::= 
Little Dorrit thought of him — too faithfully, ah, too faith fully ! — ■ 
the shadow of the ^larshaUea wall. 



XTTTLB DORRTT. 103 



CHAPTEK XXIII. 

ICACUINERT IN MOTIOX. 

Hr. Meagles bestirred himself with such prompt activity in the 
^Xkiatter of the negociation with Daniel Doyco which Clennam had 
entrusted to him, that he soon brought it into business train, and called 
on dennam at nine o'clock one morning to make his report. 

"Doyce is highly gratified by your good opinion/' he opened the 
^usinesB by saying, '' and desires nothing so much as that you should 
^^Ktmine the afiairs of the Works for yourself, and entirely understand 
tltenL He has handed me the keys of all his books and papers — ^hcrc 
"^key aie jingling in this pocket — and the only charge he has given me 
^^9 ' let Mr. Clennam have the means of putting himself on a perfect 
^^liiality with me as to knowing whatever I know. If it should come 
to nothing after all, he will respect my confidence. Unless I was sure 
^t that to begin with, I should have nothing to do with him.' 
-Aaid there, yon see," said Mr. Meagles, " you have Daniel Doyce all 
«>ver." 

*'A very honorable character," 

"Oh yes, to be sure. iNot a doubt of it. Odd, but very honorable. 
^^ery odd though. Now, would you believe, Clennam," said Mr. 
^eagles, with a hearty enjoyment of his friend's eccentricity, *'that 
^ had a whole morning in What's-his-name Yard " 

" Bleeding Heart ? " 

"A whole morning in Bleeding Heart Yard, before I could induce 
Him to pursue the subject at all ? " 

"How was that?" 

** How was that, my friend ? I no sooner mentioned your name in 
c^xinection with it, than he declared off." 

'* Declared oflP, on my account ? " 

" I no sooner mentioned your name, Clennam, tlian he said ' that 
''fill never do ! ' What did he mean by that ? I asked him. No 
''^■tter, Meagles; that would never do. Why would it never do? 
Tlou'U hardly believe it, Clennam," said Mr. Meagles, laughing within 
^imseH "but it came out that it would never do, because you and he, 
'^alkiiig doTi'n to Twickenham together, had glided into a friendly- 
^^versution, in the course of which he had referred to his intention of 
^akiiig a paritncr, supposing at the time that you were as firmly and 
^iudly settled as Saint Paul's Cathedral. * ^\Tiereas,' says he, * Mr. 
.Jfettiam might now believe, if I entei-tained his proposition, that 
^ Had a sinister and designing motive in what was open free speech, 
^liich I can't bear,' says he, * wliich I really am too proud to bear.' " 

" I should as soon suspect " 

"Of course you would," interrupted Mr. Meagles, '* and so I told 
^om. But it took a morning to scale that wall ; and I doubt if any 

o 



\ 



other man than mpclf (he likes me of old), oould have got hu le 
over it. Well, Clcnnam. This business-like obstacle nunnoiiiitod, 
then atipTilatcd tliat before resuming with you I should look wtct t 
books,'and form my own opinion. 1 looked ovt^ the bunks, and fonni 
my own opinion. ,'Is it, on the whole, for, or uguinsl?' Bays 
'For.'saysl. 'Then,' soyB he, 'yon may now, my good Meni gii 
Mr, Clenaam the means of forming his opinion. To enable h' 
vhich, without bias and with perfect freedom, I shall go out of toil 
for a wei'k.' And he's gone," said Mr, Meaglcs; "that's 
GOOchiEion of the thing." 

" Xieaving me," snid (^loonam, " with a high si-nsc, I mnxt aay, i 
his candor and his " 

" Oddity," Mr. Meuglts struck in. " I should tJilnk bi 

It was not osaetly llie wurd on Clonnam's lipe, but lie forbore I 
iDtemipt his good-bumonrcd friend. 

" And now," added Mr. Mcagles, " you can begin to look into i 
ters as toon as you llunk propfir. I have undertaken to explain wi 
you may want explanation, but to he strictly impartial, md te 
Ikuthutg more." 

Xbey began their perquisitions in Uleoding Heart Yard tbKk t 
forenoan. Little peculiariticB wore easily to be detected by cxpooa 
cymin Mr. Doycc's way of managing his affairs, but they almost ahra 
involred some ingenioue {amplification of a difficulty, and saoio pla 
road to the desired end. That his papers were in am-ur, and Uud I 
stood in need of assistance to develop the capacity of hia buBineaa, i 
clear enough ; but all tbo refmlts of his undertakings during ma 
years were distinctly set forth, and were ascertainable with n 
Nothing had been done for the purposes of the pending investigstia 
everything was in its genuine working dress, and in a certain luni< 
rugged order. Tlie calculations and entries, in his own band, of whit 
there were many, were bluntly written, and with no very neat precisltn 
Lut were alwayn plain, and directed straight to tin- purpose 
[ooourred to Arthur that a far more elaborate and taking show at h 
jBMfr— such as the records of the Ciroumlooution Office n 
ini^t be far leas serviceable, as being meant to be far lew inte 

Three or four days of steady application rendered him nut* 
the facie it was essential to become acqnainU.-d witli. Mr. MokI 
was at hand the whole time, always ready to illumiiiuttt any din |Hl 
with the bright little safety .lamp belonging to the M'olca oiul 
Hetweem tliero, they agreed upon the sum it would lie fair lo a 
the purchase of a half share in the buaineas. and thim Mr. ' 
luisealcd a {laper in which Daniel Buyce bad noted the ■ 
which ho vnliiL-dit; which was even something Iom. Tinu, i 
Luniol mtav hock, ho found the aflhir its good as ronelodoiL 

"And 1 may now avow, Mr. Clcnnam," said he, with i 
shake uT the himd, " that if I hud hxiked liigh and k>w for n 
I beliei'e I could not hui-o found one more to my mind." 

" 1 soy the same," said Cltmnam, 

" And I Kty of both of you." added Mr. Mca|;lM. " that yon n 
wvU matched. You keep him in check, Clennam, with jont OoiBini 
■oiH, and ywu stick to the Works. Ban, with yoi 



f 



LITTLE DORRIT. 105 

x>mmon senso ?" suggested Daniel, with his quiet smile. 
L may call it so, if you like — and eiich of you 'W'ill be a right 
tho other. Here's my own right hand upon it, as a practical 
both of yon." 

puichaio was completed within a month. It left Arthur in 
m of privato personal means not exceeding a few hundred 
but it opened to him an active and promising career. Tho 
lends dined together on the auspicious occasion ; the factory 
factory wives and children made holiday and dined too ; even 
{ Hieart Yard dined and was full of moat. Two months had 
{<me by in all, when Bleeding Heart Yai'd had become so 
with Bhort-conunons again that the treat was forgotten there ; y 
ofiiing seemed no^v in the partnci^ship but the paint of the' 
jon on the door-posts, Doyce axd Clexn'am ; when it appeared 
Olannam himself, that lie liad'had the affairs of the firm in his 
rjean. 

wHb oonnting-house reserved for his own occupation, was a 
-wood and glass at the end of a long low workshop, fillecL with 
I and viceSy and tools, and straps, and wheels ; which, when they 
.gear with the steam engine, went tearing round as though 
i a niicidal mission to grind the business to dust and tear the 
io pieces. A communication of gi'eat trapdoors in the floor and 
h the workshop above and the workshop below, made a shaft of 
this perspeetive, which brought to Clennam's mind the child's 
nre-book, where similar ravs were the ^\'itnesses of Abel's 
The noises were sufficiently removed and shut out irom the 
l^-nouse to blend into a busy hum, interspersed ivith periodical 
nd thumps. Tho patient figures at work were swarthy with 
gR of iron and steel that danced on every bench and bubbled up 
every chink in the planking. Tlie workshop was arrived at 
ep-laddor from the outer yard below, where it served as a 
£ae the large grindstone where tools were sharpened. The 
ad at once a fQ^pi^ul and practical air in Clennam's eyes which 
reloome change ; and, as often as ho raised them from his first 
' getting the array of business documents into perfect order, ho 
at these things with a feeling of pleasure in his pursuit that 
r to him. 

Dg his eyes thus one day, he was surprised to see a boimet 
f up the step-ladder. The unusual apparition was followed by 
bcmnet. He then ptTceived that tlie first boimet was on the 
lir.'F's Aunt, and that the second bonnet was on the head of 
silo seemed to have propelled her legacy up the steep ascent 
naiderablc difficulty. 

g^ not altogether enraptured at the sij^ht of tlieso visitors, 
n lost no time in opening the counting-liouse door, and extri- 
them from tlie workshop; a rescue wliich was rendered the 
joeaaary by 3Ir. f's Aunt alrc?ady sluuibling over some impedi- 
lod menacing steam-power as au Institution with a stony 
sbe carried. 

)d gracious, Arthur, — I should sny 'Mr. Clennam, for moit^ 
-4lie dimb we have had to get up here and how ever to get 

o2 



r 



196 LITTLK DOSRIT. 

down again without a firo-cscapc and Mr. F*8 Aunt slipping through 
the steps and bruised all over and you in the machinery and foondiy 
way too only think, and never told us ! " 

llius Flora, out of breath. Meanwhile, Mr. Fs Aunt rubbed her 
esteemed insteps with her umbrella, and vindictively glared. 

** ^ost unkind never to have come back to see us since that day, 

though naturally it was not to be expected that there should be any 

attraction at our house and you were much more pleasantly engaged, 

^ that's pretty certain, and is she fair or dark blue eyes or blade I 

/^ wonder, not that I expect that she should be anything but a perfect 

^ contrast to me in all particulars for I am a disappointment as I veiy 

well know and you are quite right to be devoted no doubt thougn 

what I am saying Arthur never mind I hardly know myself Good 

gracious ! *' 

By this time he had placed chairs for them in the counting-bouse. 
As Flora dropped into hers, she bestowed the old look upon him. 

'' And to think of Doyce and Clcnnam, and who Doyce can be,** said 
Flora ; '' delighthil man no doubt and married perhaps or periiaps 
a daughter, now has he really ? then one understands the partaenhip 
and sees it all, don't tell me anything about it for I know I hare no 
claim to ask the question the golden chain that once was ibtged, 
being snapped and very proper." 

Flora put her hand tenderly on his, and gave him another of the 
youthful glances. 

*' Dear Arthur — force of habit, Mr. Clennam every way more 
delicate and adapted to existing circumstances — I muMt beg to be 
excused fi)r taking the liberty of this intnision luit I thought I might 
so far presume upon old times for ever faded nevrr more to bloom as 
to call with Mr. F's Aunt to congratulate and offer best wishes, A great 
deal superior to China not to be denied and much ni^arer though 
higher up I " 

** I am very happy to sec you," said Clennam, ** and I thank you, 
Flora, \QTy much for your kind remembrance." 

** More than I can say myself at any rate," returned Flora, " for I 
might have been dead and buried twenty distinct times over and no 
doubt whatever should have been before you had genuinely remem- 
bered Me or anything like it in spite of which one la.«»t remark I- 
wish to make, one last explanation I wish to offer ** 

** My dear Mrs. Finching," Arthur remonstrated in alarm. 

** Oh not that disagreeable name, say Flora ! " 

** Flora, is it worth troubling yourself afi*esh to enter into explan 
tions ? I assure you none are needed. I am satisfied — I am perfect 
satisfied." 

A diversion was occasioned here, by Mr. F's Aunt making t 
fullowinp; inexorable and awful statement : 

** There's mile-stones on the Dover road I " 

With such mortal hostility towards the human race did she di 
charge lliis missile, that Clennam was ciuite at a loss how to deft 
himself; the rather as he had been already j)eq)lex(Ml in his 
bv the honor of a visit from this venerable ladv, when it 
jilam she held him in the utmost abhorrence. He could not 





UTILE DOUKIT. lU7 

look at her with disconcertment, as she sat breathing bitterness and 
scorn, and staring leagues away, flora, however, received tho 
remark as if it had been of a most apposite and agreeable nature; 
approvingly observing aloud that Mr. F's Aunt had a great deal of 
spirit. Stimulated either by this compliment, or by her burning indig- 
nation, that illustrious woman then added, '' Let him meet it if he 
can ! " And, with a rigid movement of her stony reticule (an 
appendage of great size, and of a fossil appearance), indicated that 
Clennom was tho unfortunate person at whom tho challenge was 
hurled. 

" One lost remark," resumed Flora, " I was going to say I wish to 
make one last explanation I wish to offer, Mr. E's Aunt and myself 
would not have intruded on business hours Mr. F having been in business 
and though the wine trade stiU business is equally business call it what 
you win and business habits are just the same as witness Mr. F himself 
who had his slippers always on the mat at ten minutes before six 
in the afternoon and his boots inside the fender at ten minutes before 
eight in tho morning to the moment in all woiithcrs light or dark — 
would not therefore have intruded without a motive which being kindly 
meant it may be hoped will be kindly taken ^Vrthur, Mr. Clennam 
£sa more proper, even Doyce and Clennam probably more business- 
like." 

" Pray say nothing in tho way of apology," Arthur entreated. 
" You are always welcome." 

"Very polito of you to say so Arthur— cannot remember Mr. 

Clennam until the word is out, such is the habit of times for ever fled 

'and BO true it is that oft in the stilly night ere slumber's chain has 

bound people fond memory brings the light of other days around 

people— -very polite but more polite tbun true I am afraid, for to go into 

the machinery business without so much as sending a line or a cord to 

pi^a — ^I don't say me though there was a time but that is past 

od stem reality has now my gracious never mind— does not look 

like it you must confess." 

Even Flora's commas seemed to have fled on this occasion ; she was 
80 much^ore disjointed and voluble than in the preceding interview. 

" TtbuglTindeeJ," she hurried on, "nothing else is to be expected 

fnd why diould it be expected and if it's not to be expected why should 

U be axid I am far from blaming you or any one, "Wlien your mama and 

^y papa worried us to death and severed the golden bowl — I mean 

hond but I dare say you know what I mean and it" you don't you don't 

W much and care just as little I will venture to add — when they 

^vered the golden bond that bound us and threw us into fits of crying 

?^ the sofii nearly choked at least myself everything was changed and 

^ giving my hand to Mi\ F I know I did so with my eyes open but he 

^38 flo very unsettled and in such low spirits that he had distractedly 

^udcd to the river if not oil of sometliing from the chemist's and X 

*d it for tho best." 

**My good Flora, we settled that before. It was all quite right." 
" It B perfectly clear you think so," returned Flora, *' for you toko 
^t very cooUy, if I hadn't kno^Ti it to be China I should have guess(*d 
^jkU the Polar regions, dear Mr. Clennam you are right however and 



^. 



198 UTTLE DORRTT. 

I cannot blame you but as to Bojce and Clennam papa's property 
being about here we heard it from Pancks and but for him we nerer 
should have heard one word about it I am satisfied." 

" No no, don't say that." 

" What nonsense not to say it Arthur — ^Doyce and Clenna 
and less trying to me than Mr. Clennam — ^when I know it and you: 
know it too and can't deny it." 

** But I do deny it, Flora. 1 should soon hare made you a fneadty^ 
visit." 

"Ah!" said Flora, tossing her head. "I dare say!" and 
gave him another of the old looks. "However when Pancks toM 
I made up my mind that Mr. F's Aunt and I would come and 
because when papa — ^which was before that — ^happened to mention ka.^ 
name to me and to say that you were interested in her I said at 
moment Good gracious why not have her here then when there's 
thing to do instead of putting it out." 

** When you say Her," observed Clennam, by this time pretty 
bewildered, " do you mean Mr. F's ^" 

" My goodness, Arthur — Doyce and Clennam really easier to 
with old remembrances — ^who ever heard of Mr. F's Aunt doing 
work and going out by the day ! " 

" Going out by the day ! Do you speak of Little Dorrit ? " 

"Why yes of course," returned Flora; "and of all the 
names 1 ever heard the strangest, like a place down in the couiLi 
with a turnpike, or a favorite pony or a puppy or a bird or sometiuixftg 
irom a seed-shop to be put in a garden or a flower-pot and come i^-^P 
speckled." 

" Then, Flora," said Arthur, with a sudden interest in theco!nY( 
tion, " Mr. Cosby was so kind as to mention Little Dorrit to you, 
he? AVTiatdidhesay?" 

" Oh you know what papa is," rejoined Flora, " and how 
vatingly ho sits looking beautiful and turning his thumbs over 
over one another till he makes one giddy if one keeps one's eyes u 
him, he said when we were talking of you — I don't know who 
the subject Arthur (Doyce and Clennam) but I am sure it wasn't 
at least 1 hope not but you really must excuse my confessing 
on that point." 

" Certainly," said Arthur. " By all means." 

" You are very ready," pouted Flora, coming to a sudden stop 
captivating bashlulness, " that I must admit. Papa said you had apoi 
of her in an earnest way and I said what I have told you 
that's all." 

" That's all ? " said Arthur, a little disappointed. 

" Except that when Pancks told us of your having embarked in *^-*:?J 
business and with difficulty persuaded us that it was really you I sq*-^ 
to Mr. F's Aunt then we would come and ask you if it would ^^^ 
agreeable to all parties that she should be engaged at our house wl*^^ 
required for I know she often goes to your Mama's and I know tl>-^^ 
your Mama has a very touchy temper Arthur — Doyce and ClennazH 
or I never might have married Mr. F and might have been at this hO' 
but I am running into nonsense." 




LITTLE DORIUT. li)i) 

** It was ver}- kind of you, riora, to think of this." 

Poor Flora rejoined with a plain sincerity which became her bettor 

"than her youngest glances, that she was glad he thought so. She said 

dt with 80 much heart, that Clennam would have given a great deal to 

l)a7his old cliaractcr of her on the spot, and throw it and the mermaid 

<«wav for ever. 

**I think, Flora," he said, "that the employment you can. gLve 

Juittle Donit, and the kindness you can show her " 

** Yes and I will/* said Flora, quickly. 

** I am sure of it — ^will be a great assistance and support to her. I 
^o not feel that I have the right to toll you what I know of her, for I 
^acquired the knowledge confidentially, and under circumstances that 
Ibind me to silence. But I have an interest in the little creature, and 
.d respect for her that I cannot express to you. Her life has been one 
of such trial and devotion, and such quiet goodness, as you can 
^M»nseLy imagine. I can hardly think of her, far less speak of her 
^^without feeling moved. Let that feeling represent what I could tell 
3t>n, and conmiit her to your fHendliness with my thanks." 

tece more he put out his hand fi-ankly to poor Flora ; once more 
230or Horn couldn't accept it frankly, found it worth nothing openly, 
xnnst make the old intrigue and myster}- of it. : As much to her own 
Ljoymcnt as to his dismay, she covered it with a comer of her shawl 
she took it. Then, looking towards the glass front of the counting- 
V and seeing two figures approaching, she cried with infinite 
z^diflh, " Papa ! Hush, Artliur, for Mercy's sake !" and tottered back 
bar chair with an amazing imitation of being in danger of swooning, 
the dread surprise and maidenly flutter of her spirits. 
The Patriarch meanwhile came inanely beaming towards the count- 
s-house, in the wake of Pancks. Pancks opened the door for him, 

him in, and retired to his own moorings in a comer. 
"I h^urd from Flora," said the Patriiirch, with his benevolent 
, " that she was coming to call, coming to call. And being out, I 
trlaought Fd come also, thought Fd come also." 

The benign "wisdom lie inl'usiKl into this deelanition (not of itself pro- 

>nnd), by means of his blue eyes, his shining head, and his long 

hite hair, waa most impressive. It seemed worth ])utting down 

the noblest sentiments enimciated hv the Ix'st of men. ALh), 




x^heii he said to Clennam, seating himself in the ])ruifered chair, *' And 
^^■^ju are in a new busint^, Mr. Clennam ? I wish you well, sir, I 




i you well ! " he seemed to have done benevolent wonders. 
"Mrs. Pinching has been telling me, sir," said Arthur, after making 
S« acknowledgments; the relict of the late Mr. F nuanwhile pro- 
^Mtting, with a gesture, again.st hL* use of that respeetabUMiame; ** tliat 
e hi^es occasionally to employ the younp: ncitUewomaii you recom- 
nided to my mother. For which I have been thanking lier." 
The Patriarch turning his head in a lumbenng way towanls Pancks, 
Bt assistant put up the note-book in whiih he liad l)een absorbed, and 
^^^ok him in tow. 

" You didn't recommend her, you know," said Pancks ; ** how could 
5*011? You knew nothing alwut her, you didn't. Tlie name was 
^*i«itianed to you, and you passed it on. That's what ifou did." 



200 LITTLE Doutrr. 

** Well ! " said Ciennam. '* As she justifies any recommendation, it 
is much the same thing." 

*^ Yon arc glad she turns out well,'' siud Pancks, '' but it wouldn't 
have been your fault if she had turned out ill. The credit's not 
yours as it is, and the blame wouldn't have been yours as it might 
have been. You gave no guarantee. You knew nothing about 
her." 

** You arc not acquainted, then," said Arthur, hazarding a random 
question, ** with any of her family ?" 

** Acquainted with any of her family ? " returned Pancks. " How 
should you be acquainted with any of her family ? You never heard 
of 'em. You can't be acquainted with people you never heard of, can 
you ? You should think not ! " 

All this time the Patriarch sat serenely smiling ; nodding or ■K^Viwy 
his head benevolently, as the case required. 

''As to being a reference," said Pancks, ''you know in a general 
way, what being a reference means. It*8 all your eye, that is ! Look 
at your tenants down the Yard here. They'd all be references for one 
another, if you'd let 'em. What would be the good of letting 'em ^ 
It's no satisfaction to be done by two men instead of one. One'* 
enough. A person who can't pay, get's another person who can't pay, 
to g^uarantee that he can pay. Like a person with two wooden legs^ 
getting another x)erson with two wooden legs, to guarantee that he haa 
got two natural legs. It don't make either of them able to do a 
walking-match. And four wooden legs are more troublesome to you 
than two, when you don't want any." Mr. Pancks concluded by 
blowing off that steam of his. 

A momontarj- silfncc that oiisiied was broken by 'Mr. F*8 Aunt, who 
had boon sitting upright in a catalc])tic state since her last public 
remark. She now underwent a i-iolent twitch, calculated to produce" 
a startling effect on the nen'cs of the uninitiated, and TN-ilh the dead- 
liest animositv obwTved : 

" You can't make a head and brains out of a bra.»vs knob witU 
nothing in it. You couldn't do it when your Uncle George wa* 
living ; much less when he's dead." 

Mr. Pancks was not slow to reply, with his usual calmness, " Indeed^ 
ma'am? Bless my soul! I'm surprised to hear it." Despite hi«- 
pn»sciice of mind, however, the spceirh of Mr. F's Aunt produced m^ 
depressing effect on the little assembly ; firstly, Iwcause it was impofi — ■ 
fiiblc to disguise that Clennam's unoffending head was the particular"^ 
temple of reason depreciated, and secondly, because nobody ever knei*^ 
on these occasions whose Uncle Georg(» was n'f erred to, or what spectraS 
presence might be invokeil imder that api>ellation. 

Therefore Flora said, though still not without a certain boastfiilnefi^ 
and triumj>h in her Icpjncy, that Mr. F's Aunt was '* very lively to- 
day, and she thought ihcy had better go. But, ^Fr. F's Aimt proved so 
lively as to take the suggestion in unoxi)ecte<l dudg(H)n and declare that 
she would not go ; adding, with several injurious expressions, that if 
" He '* — too evidently meaning Clennani — wanted to get rid of her, 
"let him chuck her out of winder;" and urgently expressing her 
desire to see " Him " perform that ceremony. 




LITTLE DOHEIT. 201 

In this dilemma, Mr. Pancks, whose resources appeared equal to any 

emergency in the Patriarchal waters, slipped on his hat, slipped out at 

the Gountiiig-house door, and slipped in again a moment afterwards 

with an artificial freshness upon him, as if he had heen in the country 

^or some weeks. ** Why, bless my heart, ma'am !" said Mr. Pancks, 

Tubbmg ap his hair in gre^ astonishment, ** is that you ? How do 

3X>a do, ma'am 1 You are looking charming to-day ! I am delighted 

To see you. Favor me with your arm, ma'am ; we'll have a little walk 

"together, you and me, if you'll honor me with your company." And 

?^o escorted Mr. Fs Aunt down the private staircase of the counting- 

Xunue, with greal gallantly and success. The patriarchal Mr. Casby 

^hea xoee witibi the air of having done it himself, and blandly followed : 

his daughter, as she followed in her turn, to remark to her 

lover in a distracted whisper (which she very much enjoyed), 

they had drained the cup of life to the dregs ; and further to hint 

ijBtetioiisly that the late Mr. F. was at the bottom of it. 

Alono again, Glennam became a prey to his old doubts in rcfe- 

to bis mother and Little Dorrit, and revolved the old thoughts 

mumcions. They were all in his mind, blending themselves with 

dntiea he was mechanically discharging, when a shadow on his 

caused him to look up for tho cause. The cause was Mr. Pancks. 

Ith his hat thrown back upon his ears as if his wiry prongs of hair 

darted up like springs and cost it off, with his jet-black beads 

eyes inqnisitivelv sharp, with the fingers of his right hand in his 

xxwath that he might bite the nails, and with the fingers of his left 

Ixand in reserve in his pocket for another course, Mr. Pancks cast his 

Bludow thkoagh the glass upon tho books and papers. 

Mr. Pttocks asked, with a little inquiring twist of his head, if he 
vznigfat come in again ? Clennam replied with a nod of his head in the 
xnfinnative. Mr. Pancks worked his way in, cnmc alongside the dcpk, 
himsftlf fiist by leaning his arms upon it, and started conversation 
ith a puff and a snort. 
'' Mr. F's Aunt is apx>eased, I hope ? " said Clennam. 
"All right, sir," said Pancks. 

" I am so unfortunate as to have awakened a strong animosity in 
breast of that lady," said Clennam. ** Do you know why ? " 
" Does 9he know why ? " said Pancks. 
" I suppose not" 
''/ suppose not," said Pancks. 
^ IHe took oat his note-book, opened it, shut it, dropped it into 
^*i«hat, which was beside him on the desk, and looked in at it as it lay 
^'t the bottom of the hat : all with a great appearance of consideration. 
"Mr. Clennam," he then began, " I am in want of information, sir." 
*' Connected with this firm?" asked Clennam. 
''Xo,"saidP&ncks. 

"With what then, Mr. Pancks? That is to say, assuming that 
yoa want it of me." 

"Yes, sir ; yes, I want it of you," said Pancks, " if I can ];>er8uadc 
yon to furnish it.' A, B, C, D. DA, DE, DI, DO. Dictionary order. 
AniL That^s the name, sir." 
Mr. Pancks blew off his peculiar noise again, and fell to at his 



203 UTIU DOBUT. 

nailB. Arthur looked flearchisglj at him; he lebuBfld the 



Look. 

** I don't understand you, Mr. Pancks/' 

** That's the name that I want to know about.'' 

** And what do you want to know ? " 

'' Whatever you can and will tell me" This eompvehenam 
aommar}" of his desires was not discharged without some hesry labor- 
ing on the part of Mr. Pancks's machinery. 

''This is a singular visit, Mr. Pancks. It strikes me aa nther 
extraordinary that you should come, with such an object, to me." 

'' It may be all extraordinary together," returned Pancks. *^ It maj 
bo out of the ordinary course, and yet be business. In short, it a 
business. I am a man of business. What business have I ia. lUs 
jirescnt world, except to stick to business? No business." 

With his former doubt whether this dry hard personage were quite 
in earnest, Clcnnam again turned his eyes attentively upon his tee. It 
was as scrubby and dingy as ever, and as eager and quick as ever, and 
he could see nothing lurking in it that was at all expressive of a lataoi 
mockery that had seemed to strike upon his ear in the voice. 

** Now," said Pancks, '' to put this business on its own footing, lA 
not my proprietor's." 

" Do you refer to Mr. Casby as your proprietor? " 

Pancks nodded. '' My proprietor. Put a case. Say, at mj pv»> 
prictor's I hear name — ^name of young person Mr. Glennam wenti 
to serve. Say, name first mentioned to my proprietor by Pleniih 
in the Yard. Siiy, I go to Plomish. Say, I ask Plomish 
matter of business, for inlbrmation. Say, Plomish, though six 
in arrcar to my ])roprietor, declines. Say, Mrs. Plomish decliocs. 
Say, both refer to Mr. Clennam. Put the case." 

"Well?" 

*' Well, sir," returned Pancks, " sav, I come to him. Sav, here I am." 

With those pronj^s of hair Ptickinj; up all over his head, and his 
breath cominj^ and going very liard and short, the busy Pancks fell 
back a ste]) (in Tup^ metaphor, took half a turn astern") as if to show his 
dingy hull complete, then forged ahead again, and directed his quick 
glance by turns into his hat where his note-book was, and iniD 
Clcnnam' 8 face. 

'* Mr. Pancks, not to trespass on your ground of mystery, I will be^ 
as plain with you as 1 can. Let me ask two (juestions. First 



tf 



** All right!" said Pancks, ** holding up his dirt}' foretinger 
its broken nail. ** I see! * "VNTiat's your motive ? ' " 

"Exactly." 

" Motive," said Pancks, ** good. Nothing to do with my proprietor 
not stateable at ]>rcsent, ridiculous to state at presi^nt; but goc^^ 
Desiring to senc young ]HTson, name of Dorrit," said Pancks, wi"** 
his forefinger still up as a caution. ** Better admit motive to be "" 

** Si'condlv, and lastly, what do yi>u want to know ? " 

Mr. Pancks iished up his note-book before the cjuestion was put, 
buttoning it with vixm in an inner breast pocket, and looking Btnig^f 
at (Uennam all the time, replied with a pause and a puff, ** I 
supplemeutar}' uiformation of any sort." 



LUTLB DOSBTT. 203 

Ckmnam could not withhold a smile, as the panting little steam tug, 
-530 UBeM to that unwieldy ship the Casby, waited on and watched him 
•as if it were seeking an opportunity of running in and riiling him of 
sll it wanted, before he could resist its manoeuvres ; though there was 
"that in Mr. Pancks's eagerness, too, which awakened many wondering 
_gpecTiIationfl in his mind. : After a little consideration, ho resolved to 
supply Mr. Pancks with such leading information as it was in his 
power to impart to him; well knowing that Mr. Pancks, if he failed 
in his present research, was pretty sure to find other means of 
getting it. 

He, therefore, first requesting Mr. Pancks to remember his volun- 
tary declaration that his proprietor had no part in the disclosure, and 
tiiat his own intentions were good (two declarations which that coaly 
little gentleman with the greatest ardor repeated), openly told him 
that as to the Borrit lineage or former place of habitation he had 
BO information to communicate, and that his knowledge of tho 
fiunily did not extend beyond the fact that it appeared to be now 
reduced to five members ; namely, to two brothers, of whom one was 
sin^^, and one a widower with three children. The ages of tho 
Thole fomily he made known to Mr. Pancks, as nearly as he could 
guess at them ; and finally he described to him tlie position of tho 
Father of the Marshalsea, and the course of time and events through 
which he had become invested with that character. To all this, Mr. 
Pancks, snorting and blowing in a more and more portentous manner 
m he became more interested, listened >nth gR'nt attention ; appearing 
to derive the most agreeable sensations from the painfrillest parts of 
jbe n anatiYe, and particularly to be quite charmed by the account of 
William DcMrrit's long imprisonment. 

"In conclusion, Mr. Pancks," said Arthur, ** I have but to say 
tlds. I hare reasons beyond a personal regard, for speaking as little as 
I can of the Dorrit family, particularly at my mother's house " (Mr. 
tmtka nodded), '' and for knowing as much as I ctin. Bo devoted a 
man of business as you are — eh ? " 
For, Mr. Pancks had suddenly made that blowin*? effort with unusual 

" If 8 nothing," said Pancks. 

. " So devoted a man of business as yourself has a p(?rfect undcrstand- 

^^^ of a fair bargain. I Tvish to make a fair bargain with you, that 

J"Oii shall enlighten me concerning tho Dorrit family, when you have 

*'t in yony power, as I have enlightened you. It may not give you a 

^^*y flattering idea of my business habits, that I failed to make my 

^^*nn« beforehand," continued Clennam ; ** but I prefer to make them 

^ jpoint of haaar. I have seen so much business done on sharp 

5^?*Xnciple8 thaf," to tell you the truth, Mr. Pancks, I am tired of 



3fr. Pancks laughed. " It's a bargain, sir," said ho. ** You shall 
*U»d mc stick to it." 

^^ Jkftcr that, he stood a little while looking at C'lonnam, and biting 

^J*« ten nails all round ; evidently while ho fixed in his mind what 

^ had been told, and went over it carefully before the means of 

^^ipplying a gap in his memory should be no longer at hand. ** It's 



I 



I 



20-1 trPPLB DORSIT, 

nil right," ho Kiid nt last, "and now I'll wiiJi you gnoil ilny, as 
it'a colktting-duy in tlio Yitrd. £y-llii;-byc, thougti. A lumo fotcigiuX: 
wilb B Btick." , 

",Ayc, aye. Youdo tftkcarefprenccsoraetimuB, I see?" aoid Cltuinani. 

" Wlieu ti' cim puy. sir," replied I'uiiukn, " Take all you can got^, 
and keep back all you iiui't Iju forced lo pivo up. That's buiincNH 
Tlie Umo fomgncr with the stick wants a tup room down tbo Xard. 
Is bo good for it?" 

" I am," said Clennnm, " nnd I will answer for lum." 

"That's enough. What 1 must have of ]3]c<-ding Heart Yard," 
said Pancks, raakiiig a note of the cbgo in his book, " Is my boad. 
want my bond, you eee. Pay up, or produue your property ! That's U» 
watchword down the Yard. Tho lamu foreigner with the Mick Rpro— 
Rented that you sent him; but ho eould represent [a* fnr its that gora) 
that the Griint Mogul sent him. Hehasbeenin the Hospitjil, I beliere?" 

"Yes. Through having met with an accident. Hu is only Just. 
now diBcUorgod." 

" It'u puuperixing a man, sir, I have been ahown, to let him into > 
Hospital r " said Pnncka. And again blew off that i*markable soand. 

'' 1 have been shown bo too," said Clennam, coldly. 

Mr. Puncks, being by that time quite ready for a sturt, got uaia 
sti'um in a moment, and, witliout any uUier eignol or i-eramony, wu 
puorline dawn the fitep-loddor and working into Bleeding Heart Yard, 
before he eeemed to be well out of the cuun ting-house. 

Throughout the remainder of the day, Blee>ding Heart YanI voa u). 
consternation, as the grim Pancks cruised in it ; haranguing the infaft- 
bitnnts on their bavkslidings in respect of payment, demandiac 1 ' 
iMnd, breathing notices to quitandesecutions, ruiioingdowndcfiiultai 
si'nding a swell of terror on boforc him, and leaving it in bis wake. 
EnoU of people, impelled by a. fatal attraction, lurked outaidn aay 
house in wUith ho was known to be, listening for Irugmenta of h"^ 
discourses to the inmates; and, when ho was rumoured tu bo ccmiai 
down tho stairs, often could not disperse so quickly but that bo wooli 
bo pnnuiiturely in among them, demanding their own arrcan, i 
mottng them to the Hpot. Tliroughout the remainder nf the d«v, Mr. 
Puncks's What were they up (o? and What did they menu bj iti 
Boundcfl all over the Yard, Mr. Pancks wouldn't bear of vxtnc 
wouldn't liear of complninta, wouldn't hear of repain, wouldn't li 
of anytJiing but uneonditional money down. Pempiring and puiHiU 
and ^ting about in ei^wTitriu dirotdouB, and beeoming hotter ailG 
dingier cTcry moment, he lashed Uie tide of the Ynnl into ■ mo 
agitated and turbid state. It had not SL'tUed don-ti into calm wot 
again, full two hours _nfVr he had been seen turning away uo ttiM 
horixon at the (op of the steps. 

There were st '^-c^ll small asM^blngcH of the Qleisliug Hearts at tli 
popular poinl« of mot-ting in the Yanl that night, omuug whoin it Wi 
uniTersally agreed ilmt Mr. Pancks wu« u hard man to hiiTu to d 
with ; and that it was much to be ifgretted, no it wits, that a gvntli-ina 
like Mr. Cnshy should put bis rents in his hands, and never know hia 



in Ilia tnicli 



forii 



dtkiJUcd 



g Hcurtavrif a s 



LITTLB DOBBIT. S05 

ma'am, there would be none of thia worriting and wearing, and things 
would be rery different. VV ^'/ 

At which identical eycning hour and minute, the ratriarch — ^who 
had floated serenclj through the Yard in the forenoon before the 
hanging began, with the express design of getting up this trustfulness 
in bis shining bumps and silken locks — at which identical hour and 
minute, that first-rate humbug of a thousand guns was heavily flounder- 
ing in the little Dock of his exhausted Tug at home, and was saying, 
as he turned his thumbs : 

"A very bad day's work, Pancks, very bad day's work. It seems 
to me, sir, and I must insist on making the observation forcibly, in ' 
justice to myself, that you ought to have got much more money, much 
more monev." 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

TORTUNE-TELLING. 

LnTLZ DonKiT received a call that same evening from Mr. Plomish, 
'Vho, having intimated that he wished to speak to her, privately, in a 
«eric8 of coughs so very noticeable as to favor the idea that her father, 
ns regarded her seamstress occupation, was an illustration of the axiom 
^hat there arc no such stone-blind men as those who will not see, 
obtained an audience with her on the common staircase outride the 
cloor. 

"There's been a lady at our place to-day. Miss Dorrit," Plomish 

&N3(w\ed, " and another one along with her as is a old wixcn if ever 

T met with such. The way she snapped a person's head ofi^, dear me ! " 

The mild Plomish was at first quite unable to get hia mind away 

^Mxmi Mr. Fs Atmt. " For," said he, to excuse himself, " she is, 1 do 

^^•wure you, the winegariest party ! " 

At length, by a great efibrt, he detached himself from the subject 
'^"«2fflciently to observe : 

" But she's neither here nor there just at present. The other lady, 

's Mr. Gasby's daughter ; and if Mr. Casby an't well off, none 

tter, it an't through any fault of Pancks. Por, as to Pancks, he 

, he really does, he does indeed ! " 
Mr. Plomish, after his vu^vlqI manner, was a little obscure, but con- 
:ientiooBly emphatic. 

"And what she come to our place for," he pursued, " was to leave 

ord that if Miss Dorrit woidd step up to that card — which it*s Mr. 

iby's house that is, and Pancks he has a office at the back, where he 

^^^ally does, beytmd belief — she would be glad for to engage her. She 

a old and a dear friend, she said particular, of Mr. Ciennam, and 

^3ped for to pro ve herself a useful friend to his friend. Them was 

^er words. Wiahing to know whether Miss Dorrit could come 





L 



206 LITTLB DOKBIT. 

to-morrow morning, I said I would sec you, Miss, and inquire, and 
look round there to-night to say yes, or, if you was engaged to- 
morrow, when.'' 

« I can go to-morrow, thank you,'' said Little Dorrit '' Thift is Teiy 
kind of you, hut you arc always kind." 

Mr. Plarnish, with a modest disavowal of his merits, opened the 
Toom-door for her re-admission, and followed her in with such in 
exceedingly hald pretence of not having heen out at all, that her feUber 
might have ohserved it without being very suspicious. In his affiiUe 
unconsciousness, however, he took no heed. Plomish, after a little 
conversation, in which he blended his former duty as a CJollegian with 
his present privilege as a humble outside friend, qualified again by his 
low estate as a plasterer, took his leave ; making the tour of the prieon 
before ho left, and looking on at a game of skittles, with the mixed 
feelings of an old inhabitant who had his private reasons for believing 
that it might be his destiny to come back again. 

Early in the morning, Little Dorrit, leaving Maggy in high domestic 
trust, set off for the Patriarchal tent. She went by the Iron Bridge, 
though it cost her a penny, and walked more slowly in that part of her 
journey than in any other. At five minutes before eight, her hand was 
on the Patriarchal knocker, which was quite as high as she could reach. 

She gave Mrs. Finching's card to the young woman who opened the 
door, and the young woman told her that "Miss Flora" — ^Flon 
having, on her return to the parental roof, re-invested herself with the 
title under which she had lived there — was not yet out of her bed- 
room, but she was to please to walk up into Miss Flora's sitting-room. 
She walked up into Miss Flora's sitting-room, as in duty bound, and 
there found a breakfast- table comfortably laid for two, with a supple- 
mentary tray upon it laid for one. The young woman, disappearing 
for a few moments, returned to say that she was to please to take a 
chair by the fire, and to take off her bonnet and make herself at home. 
But Little Domt being bashful, and not used to make hcrBclf at. 
home on such occasions, felt at a loss how to do it ; so she was stiil 
sitting near the door with her bonnet on, when Flora came in in ^ 
hiUT}% half-an-hour afterwards. 

Flora was so sorr}'^ to have kept her waiting, and good gracious w^^%1 
did she sit out tliere in the cold when she had expitcted to find her ^ 
the fire reading the paper, and hadn't that heedless girl given her "^M^ 
message then, and had she really been in her bonnet all this time, c^^ 
pray for goodness sake let Flora take it ofT! Flora, talking it oif in ^ 
best-natured manner in tlie world, was so struck by the face disch 
that she said, ** \\1iy, wliat a p:ood little thing you are, my dear I " 
pressed the face between her hands like the gentlest of womt*n. 

It was the word and tlu? action of a moment. little Dorrit 
hardlv time to think liow kind it was, when Flora dashed at ^-"^ 
breakfast- table, fuU of business, and plunged over head and ears ii»w 
loquacity. 

** Keally so sorry that I should happen to be late on this morning' (^/ 
all mornings because my intention and my wisli was to l>e ready to 
meet you when you came in and to sav thai any one that interested 
Arthur Clennam half so much mu^^t interest me and that 1 gave you 



JJTILB DOKBII. 207 

the heertiest welcome and was bo glad, instead of which ihey never 
called me and there I still am snoring I dare say if the truth was 
known and if you don't like either cold fowl or hot hoiled ham which 
many people don't I dare say besides Jews and thjeirs are scruples of 
conscience which we must all respect though I must say I wish 
they bad them equally strong when they sell us false articles for real 
that oertainly ain't worth the money I shall he quite vexed/' said 
Jlora. 

little Dorrit thanked her, and said, shyly, bread and butter and tea 
all she usually- 



** Oh nonsense my dear child I can never hear of that," said Mora, 
turning on the urn in the most reckless manner, and making herself 
wink %- splashing hot water into her eyes as she bent down to look 
into the tea-pot. ** You are come here on the footing of a Mend and 
companion you know if you will let mc take that liberty and I should 
be ashamed of myself indeed if you could come here upon any other, 
besidea which Arthur Clennam spoke in such terms — ^you are tired my 
dear." 
"No, ma'am." 

" You turn so pale you have walked too far before break£[i8t and 
I dare say live a great way off and ought to have had a ride," said 
Hora, ** dear dear is there anything that would do you good ? " 

** Indeed I am quite well, ma'am. I thank you again and again, 
bat I am quite well." 

" Then take your tea at once I beg," said Flora, " and this wing of 
fowl and bit of ham, don't mind me or wait for me because I always 
eany in this tray myself to Mr. P's Aunt who brcakfeists in bed and 
a charming old lady too and very clever. Portrait of Mr. IP behind 
the door and very like though too much forehead and as to a piUar 
with a marble pavement and balustrades and a mountain I never saw 
him near it nor not likely in the wine trade, excellent man but not at 
all in that way." 

Little Dorrit glanced at the portrait, very imperfectly following the 
le&ienoes to that work of art. 

" Mr. F was so devoted to me that he never could bear me out of his 
oght," said Flora, ** though of course I am unable to say how long 
that might have lasted if he hadn't been cut short while I was a new r- 

hreom, worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance." ^CS 

Idttte Dorrit glanced at the portrait again. The artist had given ity-^v> 
a head that would have been, in an intellectual point of view, top-^ 
heavy for Shakespeare. 

"Romance, however," Flora went on, busily arranging Mr. F's 
Aunt's toast, '^as I openly said to Mr. F when he proposed to me and 
you will be surprised to hear that he proposed seven times once in a 
hackaey coach once in a boat once in a pew once on a donkey at Tun- 
^^ Wells and the rest on his knees, liomonce was fled with the 
early days of Arthur Clennam, our parents tore us asunder we became 
^'^srhle and stem reality usurped the throne, Mr. F said very 
^Qch to his credit that he was perfectly aware of it and even pre- 
«n:ed that state of things accordingly the word was spoken the 
^ Went forth and such is life you see my dear and yet we do 



208 JJTTLE DOBBTT. 

not break but bend, pray make a good breakfast while I go in with 
the tray." 
<^ She disappeared, leaving Little Dorrit to ponder over the meaning 
.Np of hgr.s<^ttered words. She soon came back again; and at last began 
~^ to take her own breakfast, talking all the while. 

'' You see my dear/' said Flora, measuring out a spoonful or two of 





Dome brown liquid that smelt like brandy, and putting it into her 
tea, '' I am obliged to bo careful to follow the directions of my medical 
man though the flavor is anything but agreeable being a poor creature 
and it may bo have never recovered the shock received in youth from 
too much gi\'ing way to crying in the next room when separated from 
Arthur, have you known him long ?" 

As soon OS Little Dorrit comprehended that she had been asked this 
question — for which time was necessary, the galloping pace of her 
new patroness having left her far behind — she answered that she had 
known Mr. Clennam ever since his return. 

" To be sure you couldn't have known him before imless you had 
been in China or hod corresponded neither of which is likely," rctumod 
Flora, ** for travelling-people usually get more or less mahogany and 
you are not at all so and as to corresponding what about ? that's very 

true imless tea, so it was at his mother's was it really that you knew 

him first, highly sensible and firm but dreadfully severe— ought to be — ^ 
the mother of the man in the iron mask." 

** Mrs. Clennam has been kind to me," said Little Dorrit. 

" Really ? I am sure I am glad to hear it because as Arthni^s — ^ 
mother it's natui*ally pleasant to my feelings to have a better opinion — ^ 
of her than I had before, tliough wliat she thinks of me when I run on — ^ 

as I am certain to do and she sits glowering at me like Fate in a go- 

cart — shocking comparison really — invalid and not her fault — I nevei — '--^^ 
know or can imagine." 

"Shall I find my work anywhere, ma'am?" asked Little Donit, .«e '» 
looking timidly a])0ut ; ** can I get it ?" 

" You industrious little fairy," returned Flora, taking, in anothen«r-*'i 
cup of tea, another of the doses prescribed by her medical mailer *^ 
''there's not the slightest Imn-^- and it's better,. that we 8houl<l^ -»'-^* 
begin by being confidential about \ur mutual friend— too cold a wtmi^'^"^ 
for mp^at least I don't mean that, very proper expression^ mutual 
friend— -than become throu^jh mere formalities not vou but me like th« ^ 
Spartan boy with the fox biting him, which I hope you'll excus; 
my bringing up for of all the tiresome boys that will go tumbling in 
every sort of company that boy's the tiresomest." 

Little Dorrit, her face very pale, sat down again to listen. ** Hadn'r 
I better work the while'?" she asked. " I can work and attend toe ^ 
I would rather, if I inav." 

Her earnestness was so expressive of her being imeasy withouf' 
her work, that Flora answered, " Well my dear whatever you lik 
best," and produced a basket of white handkerchiefs. Little Dorrit 
gladly put it by her side, took out her little pocket-housewife, threade (7 
her needle, and began to hem. 

** What niinblo fingers you have," said Flora, "but arc you sui 
you are well?" 




LITTLB DOARIT. 200 

"Oh yes, indeed!" 

Flora put her feet apon the fender, and settled herself for a thorough 
good lomantic disclosure. She started off at score, tossing her head, 
sigliiiig in the most demonstrative manner, making a great deal of 
use of her eyebrows, and occasionally, but not often, glancing at the 
qmet ftce that bent over the work. 

'* You must know my dear/' said Flora, '' but that I have no doubt 

yon know already not only because I have already thrown it out in a 

general way but because I feel I cany it stamped in burning what's 

his names upon my brow that before I was introduced to the lato 

Kr. F I had been (mgagcd to Arthur Clennam — ^Mr. Clennam in 

3iublio where reserve is necessary Arthur here — ^we were all in all 

"to one another it was the morning of life it was bliss it was frenzy 

'3t was everything else of that sort in the highest degree, when rent 

.arander we turned to stone in which capacity Arthur went to China 

«md I became the statue bride of the late Mr. E." 

Flora, ntteiing these words in a deep voice, enjoyed herself immensely. 
** To paint," said she, '' the emotions of that morning when all was 
'xnaiUe within and Mr. F's Aunt followed in a glass-coach which it 
^■nds to reason must have been in shameful repair or it never could 
"kare broken down two streets from the house and Mr. F's Aunt brought 
Xiome like the fifth of November in a rush-bottomed chair I will not 
«Kttempt, suffice it to say that the hollow form of breakfast took place 
ui the dining-room down-stairs that papa partaking too freely of pickled 
wilmon was ill for weeks and that Mr. F and myself went upon u 
^Mmtinental tour to Calais where the people fought for us on the pier 
"izntil they separated us though not for ever that was not yet to l>e." 

The statue bride, hardly pausing for breath, wont on, with the 
Sieatest complacency, in a rambling manner sometimes incidental to 
flesh and Uood. 

"I will draw a veil over that dreamy life, Mr. F was in good 
Kpirits his appetite was good he liked the cookery he considered the 
'Wine weak but palatable and all was well, we returned to the immediate 
x&cighbourhood of Number Thirty Little Gosling Street London Docks 
cuid settled down, ere we had yet fully detected the housemaid in 
selling the feathers out of the spare bed Gout flying upwards 
■oared with Mr. F to another sphere." 

His relict, with a glance at his portrait, shook her head and wipe^ 
tier eves. 

"1 revere the memory of Mr. F as an estimable man and most 
Udulgent husband, only necessary to mention Asparagus and it appeared 
V to hint at any little delicate thing to drink and it came like magic 
^ a pint bottle it was not ecstacy but it was comfort, I returned to 
^pa's roof and lived secluded if not happy during sumo years until 
le day papa came smoothly blundering in and said that Arthur Clen- 
Un awaited me below, I went below and found liim ask me not what 
found him except that ho was still unmarried still unchanged ! " 
The dark mystery with which Flora now enshrouded herself might 
ve stopped other fingers than the nimble fing(»rs that worked near 
r. They worked on, without pause, and the busy head bent over 
"m watching the stitches. 



210 UTILS bobbit; 

I 

'' Ask mc not/' Boid Flora, " if I love liiiii still or if lie still Iotw 
me or what the end is to he or when, we are snrronnded hj watchftil 
y^ eyes and it may he that we are destined to pine asunder it may be 
never more to he reunited not a word not a breath not a look to betraj 
ns all must he secret as the tomb wonder not therefore that even if I 
should seem comparatively cold to Arthur or Arthur should seem oooi* 
paratively cold to me we have &tal reasons it is enough if we under- 
stand them hush ! " 

All of which Mora said with so much headlong vehemence as if she 
really believed it. There is not much doubt, that, when she worked 
hersw into fiill mermaid condition, she did actually believe whatever 
she said in it. 

" Hush ! " repeated Mora, " I have now told you all, confidence ii 
established between us hush, for Arthur's sake I will always be a 
friend to vou my dear girl and in Arthur's name you may always rdj 
upon me. 

The nimble fingers laid aside the work, and the little figure roae and 
Idased her hand. ** You are very cold,'' said Mora, changing to her own 
natural kind-hearted manner, and gaining greatly by &e cbasga. 
*' Don't work to-day I am sure you are not well I am sure yoa are 
not strong." 

" It is only that I feel a little overcome by your kindness, and by 
Mr. dennam's kindness in confiding me to one he has known and loved 
so long.'' 

" Well really my dear," said Mora, who had a decided tendency to 
be always honest when she gave herself time to tliink about it, ** It's 
as well to leave that alone now, for I couldn't luidertake to say after 
all, but it doesn't signify lie down a little ! " 

** I have always been strong enough to do what I want to do, 
and I shall be quite well directly," returned Little Dorrit, with a 
faint smile. ** You have overpowered me with <^atitude, that's all. If 
I keep near the window for a moment, I shall be quite myself." 

Flora opened a window, sat her in a chair by it, and considerately retired 
to her former place. It was a windy day, and the air stirring on Little 
Dorrit* 8 face soon brightened it. In a very few minutes she returned to 
her basket of work, and her nimbh? fingers were tis nimble as ever. 

Quietly pursuing her task, she asked Flora if Mr. CUnnam had told 
her where she lived ? 'When Flora replied in the negative. Little 
Dorrit said that she understood why he had been so delicate, but that she 
felt sure he would approve of her confiding her secret to Flora, and 
that she would therefore do so now \\'ith Flora's permission. Re- 
cei\'ing an encouraging answer, she condensed the narrative of ht-r 
life into a few scanty words about herself, and a plowing eulogy 
upon her fatlier ; and Flora took it all in ^vith a natural tendemeas 
that quite understood it, and in which there was no incoherence. 

"When dinner-time came. Flora drew the arm of her new ehar|ca 
through hers, led her down stairs, and presented her to the Tntriarch 
and Mr. Pancks, who were already in the dining-room waiting to 
begin. (Mr. P's Aunt was, for the time, laid up in ordinary in 
her chamber.) By thost^ gentlemen she was rt*ceived acrconling to 
their characters ; the Patriarch appearing to do her some inestimablo 



IJTHJB DOBBIT. 211 

leiTioe in wying that he was glad to see her, glad to see her; 
md Mr. Pancks Idowuig off his favorite sound as a salute, f y^\.^* ' 
In that new presence, she would have been bashful enough ^ider 
VLj dronmstances, and particularly under Flora's insisting on her 
drinking a glass of wine and eating of the best that was there; 
hot her constraint was greatlj increased by Mr. Pancks. The de- 
meanour of that gentleman at first suggested to her mind that he 
might be a taker of likenesses, so intently did he look at her, and so 
frequently did he glance at the little note-book by his side. Observing 
that he made no sketch, however, and that he talked about busineaB 
onlvy she began to have suspicions that he represented some creditor: 
of her father's, the balance due to whom was noted in that pocket- , 
volume. Regarded from this point of view, Mr. Pancks's puffings' 
enreased injury and impatience, and each of his louder snorts became 
a demand for payment. 

Buty here again she was undeceived by anomalous and incongruous 
condnct on the part of Mr. Pancks himself. She had left the table 
half an hour, and was at work alone. Flora had '* gone to lie down " 
in the next room, concurrently with which retirement a smell of 
wanething to drink had broken out in the house. The Patriarch was 
fast asleep, with his philanthropic mouth open, under a yellow 
pocket-handkerchief in the dining-room. At this quiet time, Mr. 
Pancks softly appeared before her, urbanely noddinpj. 

"Find it a little dull. Miss Dorrit?'* inquired Pancks, in a 
low voice. 
" No, thank you, sir," said Little Dorrit. 

*' Busy, I see," observed Mr. Pancks, stealing into the room by 
inches. "What are those now, Miss Dorrit? " 
" Handkerchiefs." 

" Are they, though ! " said Pancks. '* I shouldn't have thought it." 
Not in the least looking at them, but looking at Little Dorrit. * ' Perhaps 
you wonder who I am. Shall I tell you ? I am a fortune-teller." 
Little Dorrit now began to think he was mad. 
" I belong body and soul to my proprietor," said Pancks ; " you 
saw my proprietor having his dinner below. But I do a little in 
the other way, sometimes; privately, ver}' privately, Miss Dorrit." 

Little Dorrit looked at him doubtfully, and not without alarm. *' I 
wish you'd show me the palm of your hand," said Pancks. ** I should 
like to have a look at it. Don't let me be troublesome." 

He was so far troublesome that he was not at all wanted there, but 
she laid her work in her lap for a moment, and held out her loft 
hand with the thimble on it. 

"Years of toil, eh?" said Pancks, softly, touching it with his 
blunt forefinger. "But what else are we made for? Nothing. 
Hallo!" looking into the lines. "What's this with bars? It's a 
College I And what *s this with a grey gown and a black velvet cap ? 
It's a father! And what's this with a clarionet? It's an undo! 
And what 's this in dancing-shoes ? It 's a sister ! And what 's this 
straggling about in an idle sort of a way ? It '» a brother ! And 
what's this thinking for Vm all? Why, this is you. Miss 
Donrit!" 



p 2 



212 UTTLB DOBftlT. 

Her eyes met his as she looked up wonderingly into his face, and 
she thought that although his were sharp eyes, ho was a brighter and 
gentler-looking man than she had supposed at dinner. His eyes were 
on her hand again directly, and her opportunity of oonfinning or 
correcting the impression was gone. 

''Kow, the deuce is in it,'' muttered Pancks, tracing out a line in her 
hand wi^ his clumsy finger, '' if this isn't *me in the comer here ! 
What do I want here ? What's behind me ? " 

He carried his finger slowly down to the wrist, and round the wrist, 
and affected to look at the back of the hand for what was behind him. 

'^ Is it any harm ? " asked Little Dorrit, smiling. 

" Deuce a bit !" said Pancks. " What do you think it's worth ? " 

" I ought to ask you that. I am not the fortune-teller." 

" True," said Pancks. '* What's it worth? You shall live to tee. 
Miss Dorrit." 

Releasing the hand by slow degrees, he drew all his fingers throng 
his prongs of hair, so that they stood up in their most portentoofl 
manner; and repeated slowly, ''Remember what I say. Miss Donit. 
Tou shall live to see." 

She could not help showing that she was much surprised, if it were 
only by his knowing so much about her. 

"Ah! That's it!" said Pancks, pointing at her. ''Miss Donil, 
not that, ever ! " 

More surprised than before, and a little more frightened, she looked 
to him for an explanation of his last words. 

'* Xot that," said Pancks, making, with great poriousness, an imita- 
tion of a surprised look and manner, that appeared to be unintentionally 
grotesque. ** Don't do that. Never on t?eeing me, no matter when, 
no matter where. I am nobody. Don't take on to mind me. Don* t 
mention me. Take no notice. Will you agree, Miss Dorrit ? " 

" I hardly know what to say," returned Little Dorrit, quite 
astounded. *'Why?" 

** Beeauso I am a fortune-teller. Paneks the gipsy. I haven't told 
you so much of yonr fortune yet, Miss Dorrit, as to tell you what's 
behind me on that little hand. I have told vou vou s-ball live to see. 
Is it agreed, Miss Dorrit ? " 

'* Agreed that I— am— to " 

** To take no notice of me awav from here, unless I take on first. 
Not to mind me when I come and {^o. It's very easy. I am no I068, 
I am not handsome, 1 am not good company, I am only my proprietor's 
grubber. You need do no more than think, * Ah 1 Pancks the gippy 
at his fortune-telling — he'll tell tlie rest of my fortune one day — I shall 
live to know it.' Is it agreed, Miss Dorrit ? " 

** Yc-es," faltered Little Dorrit, whom be greatly eonfused, " I 
suppose so, while you do no harm." 

'*Goo<l! " Mr. Pancks glanced at the wall of tlie adjoining room, 
and stooped forward. ** Honest creature, woman of capital ]>oints, but 
heedless and a loose talker. Miss Dorrit." With that be rubbed hL*« 
hands as if tho inter\'iew had been ver^* satisfactoiy to him, panted 
away to tlie door, and urbanely nodded himself out again. 

If Little Dorrit were beyond measure perplexed by this cmioiu 



LITTLl BOBmT. 5213 

conduct on the part of her new acquaintance/ and by finding herself 
inrolved in this singular treaty, her perplexity was not diminished by 
ensning circumstances. Besides that Mr. Pancks took eyery oppor- 
tunity afforded him in Mr. Casby*s house of significantly glancing at 
her and snorting at her — ^which was not much, after what he had done 
already — he began to pervade her daily life. She saw him in the street, 
constantly. When she went to Mr. Casby's, he was always there. 
When she went to Mrs. Clennam's, he came there on any pretence, as 
if to keep her in his sight. A week had not gone by, when she found 
him, to her astonishment, in the Lodge one night, conversing with the 
turnkey on duty, and to all appearance one of his familiar companions. 
Her next surprise was to find him equally at his case within the 
prison ; to hear of his presenting himself among the visitors at her 
father's Sunday levee ; to see him arm in arm with a Collegiate firiend 
about the yard ; to learn, from Tame, that he had greatly distinguished 
himself one evening at the social club that held its meetings in the 
Snuggery, by addressing a speech to the members of that institution, 
nngiiig a song, and treating the company to five gallons of ale— report 
madly added a bushel of shrimps. The effect on Mr. Plomish of such 
of these phenomena as he became an eye-witness of, in his faithful 
▼intSy made an impression on Little Dorrit only second to that pro- 
duced by the phenomena themselves. They seemed to gag and bind 
h^._jB[e could only stare, and sometimes weakly mutter that it 
'wouldn't be believed down Bleeding Heart Yard that this was 
■Egncks; but he never said a word more, or made a s^ign more, even to 
Little liorrit. Mr. Pancks crowned his mysteries by making himself 
acquainted with Tip in some unknown manner, and taking a Sunday 
saunter into the College on that gentleman's arm. Throughout he 
never took any notice of Little Dorrit, save once or twice when he 
happened to come close to her, and there was no one very near ; on 
which occasions, he said in passing, with a friendly look and a puff of 
encouragement, *' Pancks the gipsy — ^fortune- telling." 

Little Dorrit worked and strove as usual, wondering at all this, but 
keeping her wonder, as she had from her earliest years kept many 
heavier loads, in her own breast. A change had stolen, and was 
stealing yet, over the patient heart. Every day found her something 
more retiring than the day before. To pass in and out of the prison 
unnoticed, and elsewhere to be overlooked and forgotten, were, for 
herself, her chief desires. 

To her own room too, strangely assorted room for her delicate youth 
and character, she was glad to retreat as often as she could without 
desertion of any duty. There were afternoon times when she was 
unemployed, when visitors dropped in to play a hand at cards with 
her fiither, when she could bo spared and was bettor away. Then she 
would flit along the yard, climb the scores of stairs that led to her 
room, and take her seat at the window. Many combinations did 
those spikes upon the wall assume, many light shapes did the strong , 

iron weave itself into, many golden touches fell upon the rust, whiles I 

Little Donit sat there musing. New zig-zags sprung into the cruel \ 

pattern sometimes, when she saw it through a burst of tears; but 
Veanlified or hardened still, always over it and under it and through 



314 



UtTLE SOUUt. 



I 



it, bIic wiia fain to look in her solitudp, seeing everytluBg wilh ihat 
inelfiiccablf brand. 

A garret, iind a UonhalecB garret without compromise, was ljttl« 
Donit'B room. Beautifiilly kept, it wna ugly in itself, and had litUe 
but dosnlinms and air to ect it off; (or what embelliahmmt fhc hnd 
erer been able to buy, had gone to her father's room. Howbeit, for thi» 
poor place she showed im incTca^ing love ; and to ait in it alone Ijwantff 
ncr fovorito rest. 

Inaoninch, that on a certain afternoon, during the Pancks mrstcrics, 
irbcn she waa seated at her window, and heard Maggy's well-knowii 
step coming up the Btaire, she was very much diatnrbcd hy the apprt. 
henaion of being Bummoned away. As Uaggy'a step came higher up 
and nearer, she trembled and faltered ; and it waa as much as ah* 
could do to speak, when Maggy at length appeared. 

'Tlease, Little Mother," said Mnggj-, panting for l)reath, "you 
must come down and see him. He's here." 

"■Wlio, Maggy?" 

" Why, o' course Mr. Clennom. He's in your father's i^oom, and he 
Bays to ine, Maj^gy. will you he go kind as go and say it's only me." 

" I am not very well, Maggy. I had better not go. I am going to 
lie down. See ! I lie down now, to eiwo my hetid. Say, with my 
grateful regard, that you left me so, or I would have come." 

" Well, it nn't very polite thongh. Little Mother," said the stmiiig 
Maggy, " to turn your faee away, ncitlier!" 

Ma^y was very Busceptihle to personal slighU, and verj" ingenio<Da 
in inventing them. " Putting both your hands afore your face too ! " 
flhe went on, " If you can't bear the looks of a poor thing, it vonld 
bo better to tell her so at once, and not go and shut hrr out liko th«t, 
hurting her fetlingR and breaking her heart at ten year old, poor thing ! " 

" It's to ease my liesd, Mi\ggy." 

" Well, and if you cry to vuav your head. Little Mother, let mc erf 
too. Don't go and hare all the crying to yourself," expostuUtedUiggy. 
" that nn't not being greedy." And immediately bcRan to blubbor. 

It was with aome difflenlty that she rauld be induced to go back 
with the excuse; hut the promise of being told a story — of old h«r 
grvat delight— on condition that she concentrated her faculties upon 
the errand and left her little niistres* to herself for an hour iongar, 
combined with a misgiving on Maggj-'s part that she had left hi« 
good Icmpcr at the Itottom of the sta.inMUK', prevailed. So away lbs 
wrat, muttering her message all the way to keep it in h«ff nuiid, 
and, at the appointed time, came back. 

" He was very sony, 1 can tell you," she nnnownnil, " and wvitod 
to send a doctor. And he's coming again to-morrow ho is, and I dan't^ 
think he'll have a good h1(i>p to-night along u' hearing about yonr 
head. Little Mother. Oh my ! Ain't yim U-en a-orying!" 

•' I think I have, a little, Maggy." 

"A little! Oh!" 

" But it'« all over now^-all over for good, Maggy. And my head 
ii raueli liettw and pooler, and t am quite comfortahlc. I am wny 
^ad I did not go down." 

"" ' great staring eUiM tr-nrlrrly oiuhraced her; and haTil^ 



U 
4i 



. UTTLB DO&RIT. 215 

smootlied her hair, and bathed her forehead and eyes with cold water 
(offices in which her awkward hands became skilful), hugged her 
again, exulted in her brighter looks, and stationed her in her chair 
by the window. Over against this chair, Maggy, with apoplectic 
exertions that were not at all required, dragged the box which was her 
Kat on story-telling occasions, sat. down upon it, hugged her own 
knees, and said, with a voracious appetite for stories, and with widely- 
opened eyes: 

" Now, Little Mother, let's have a good 'un ! " 

''What shall it be about, Maggy?" 

'' Oh, let's have a Princess," said Maggy, '' and let her be a regular 
one. Beyond all belief, you know ! " 

Little Ibonit considered for a moment ; and with a rather sad smile 
upon her iace, which was flushed by the sunset, began : 

"Maggy, there was once upon a time a fine £ing, and he had 
everything he could wish for, and a great deal more. He had gold and 
silver, diamnndH and rubies, riches of every kind. He had palaces, 
ndhebad '[ 

''HiMpitalB," interposed Maggy, still nursing her knees. '' Let him . 

bcve hospitalsy becaose they're so comfortable. Hospitals with lots of 
Onckiiig." 

YeB, he had plenty of them, and he had plenty of everything." 
Plenty of baked potatoes, for instance ? " said Maggy. 
Plenty of everything." 
" Lor! " chuckled Maggy, giving her knees a hug. * ' Wasn't it prime !" 
" This King had a daughter, who was the wisest and most beautiM 
PrisoeBS that ever was seen. When she was a chiLd, she imderstood 
■U her lesaons before her masters taught them to her ; and when she 
WIS grown up, she was the wonder of the world. Kow, near the 
Pldaoe where this Princess lived, there was a cottage in which th*ere 
was a poor little tiny woman, who lived all alone by herself." 
** A old woman," said Maggy, with an unctuous smack of her lips. 
". Vo, not an old woman. Quite a young one." 
f I wonder she wam't afraid," said Maggy. " Go on, please." 
" The Princess passed the cottage nearly every day, and whenever 
she went by in her beautiful carriage, she saw the poor tiny woman 
gpiiming at her wheel, and she looked at the tiny woman, and the tiny 
woman looked at her. So, one day she stopped the coachman a little 
way from the cottage, and got out and walked on and peeped in at the 
door, and there, as usual, was the tiny woman spinning at her wheel, 
and she looked at the Princess, and the Princess looked at her." 

*' Like trying to stare one another out," said Magg}'. ^* Please go 
on. Little Mother." 

"The Princess was such a wonderful Princess that she had the 
power of knowing secrets, and she said to the tiny woman. Why do 
you keep it there ? This showed her directly that the Princess knew 
why phe lived all alone by herself, spinning at her wheel, and she 
knoeled down at the Princess's feet, and asked her never to betray her. 
So, the Princess said, I never will betray you. Let mo sec it. So, the 
tiny woman closed the shutter of the cottage window and fastened 
the door, and, trembling from head to foot for fear that any one should 



flUBprct bcT, opened a very secret plav«, and showed tlie_ Frinoaai-a 



^^lljlnj^." 



It WU3 tlie shadow of Some one who b&d gone by loU({ before: of 
I Some one who hud gone on far nway quite out of rcai.'h, ncTor, never 
to come back. It waa bright to look at; and when the tiny womoa 
I showed it to tho Princess, she was proud of it with ull hw heart, 
aa a- great, great, trensurc. When the Piinecss had eonnidcrcd it a 
little while, ahc Miid to the tiny noDian, And you ketp waUih over 
this, every duy ? And sho cast down her eyes, and whisix^md, Y», 
Then the "PrinceHH said, lleroind rac why.'[ Towliieh tlie otttr rallied. 
that no one bo guud and kind had crtr passed tliat way. and that wm 
why in tho beginning. Sho said, too, that nobody missed it, that 
nobody was the worse for it, that Some onu had gone oa to thoM who 

were expecting him " 

" Some one was a tarn then ? " intcrpowd Maggy- 
Little Dorrit timidly said yes, she beliovod so ; and resumed : 
•' — Had gone on to tlioso who wore expecting liini, and that this re- 
membrauci' was stolen or kept baek from noliody. Tho Princess made 
answer, Ah ! But when the cottager died it would bo discovnrd 
there, Tho tiny woman told hgr Nu ; when that time came, it vrould 
bink quietly into her own gmvo, and would never be found." 
" HeU, to be sore ! " said Maggy. " Go on, please." 
"The Princess was very much astonished to hear this, as yon m»j 
Si^pose, Maggy." 

" (And well she might be," said Maggy.^ 

" So she resolved to wateh the tiny woman, and see what came of 
it. Every day, sho drove in her beautiful carriage by the cottagr-door, 
and there she eaw the tiny woman always alone by hcwelf spinning 
at' her wheel, and slio looked at the tiny woman, and the tiny woman 
looked at her. At last one day the wheul vraa still, mid the tiny 
woman was not to be Been. When the Princess made inquiiiM 
why the wheel had stopped, and where the tiny woman was, ihv 
was informed that the wheel hod stopped because Ihoro was nobody to 
turji it, the tiny woman being dead." 

(" They ought to hnvp took her to the Hospiul," said Maggy, " uid 
then she'd have got over it.") 

" The Prineuss, after crying n very little for Uie loss of tho ttnj 
wonuin, dried her eyes and got out of her carriage at the place wiurn 
she hod stepped it bcture, and went lu the cottage and peeped in at tho 
door. Then waa nobody to look at her now, and nobo<ly for her to 
look at, so she went in at once to search for the trcasurrtl shadow. Bnt 
There was no sign of it to be found nnywherc ; and then she knew that 
the tiny woman hod told her the truth, and that it would ni-TCir gin 
any iKnly any trouble, and that it had sunk quietly into her own gi***) 
and that she and it were at rest together. 
"That's all. Ma^'gy." 

The sunset flush was so bright on Little Dorrit'a &oe when iho cuie 
thna to the end of her ilor^-, that she interposed hor hand to shade ik 
"Had she got to bo old? " Maggy askod. 
"The tiny woman?" 



LITTLB ikiKBTt. 2l7 



"Ah!" 

"I don't know," said Little Dorrit. " But it wou ld have beei bjurt 
A aM»o^ if alio l^fl^ bee^ ever and ever so old ." 

" Woold it raly! " sud Maggy. ^' weui suppose it would though." 
d sat staring and ruminating. 

She sat 80 long with her eyes wide open, that at length Little Dorrit, 
eatioe her from her hox, rose and looked out of window. As she 
down into the yard, she saw Pancks come in, and leer up 
th the comer of his eye as he went by. 

"Who's he, Little Mother?" said Maggy. She had joined her at 
3 window and was leaning on her shoulder. '' I see him come in 
cftnd out often." 

** I have heard him called a fortune-teller," said Little Dorrit. " But 
I doubt if he could tell many people, even their past or present fortunes." 
" Couldn't have told the Princess hers ? " said Maggy. 
Little Dorrit, looking musingly down into the dark valley of the 
prison, shook her head. 

** Nop the tiny woman hers ? " said Maggy. 

*' ISTo," said Little Dorrit, with the sunset very bright upon her. 
** But let US come away from the window." 



CHAPTEE XXY, 

CONSMBATORS AND OTHERS. 

The private residence of Mr. Pancks was in Pentonville, where he 

^^^^ged on the second floor of a professional gentleman in an extremely 

•'"^•U way, who had an inner-door within the street-door, poised on a 

^ring and starting open with a click like a trap ; and who wrote up in 

**ie £im-light, Riroo, Generax Aoent, Accountant, Debts Kbcovered.' 

This scroll, majestic in its severe simplicity, illuminated a little slip 

^* front garden abutting on the thirsty high road, where a few of thie 

"^Uatiest of leaves hung their dismal heads and led a life of choking. 

^ professor of writing occupied the first-floor, and enlivened the gar- 

^^^^^ mailings with glass-cases containing choice examples of what his 

Pupils had been before six lessons and while the whole of his young 

^July shook the table, and what they had become after six lessons 

^*i«n the young family was under restraint. The tenancy of Mr. 

;^J^cks was limited to one airy bedroom ; he covenanting and agreeing 

^^th Mr. Bugg his landlord, that in consideration of a certain scale of 

?^yTnents accurately defined, and on certain verbal notice duly given, 

^ should be at liberty to elect to share the Sunday breakfast, dLmer, 

*"" or supper, or each or any or all of those repasts or meals, of Mr. 

Miss Bxkgg (his daughter) in the back parlor. ^^. 

^^Mjss Bogg was a lady of a little property, which she had acquired, 

^^^^ether witb much distinction in the neighbourhood, by having her ; 

^^^irt severely lacerated and her feelings mangled by a middlvQ-Oti^S^ 



\ 



V . 






*u 



unu msKTf. 



feaker, resident in the vicinity, ngaisBt whom Bhehad, by the _ 
Xr. Bugg, found it ncceBsary to proceed at law to reoover diuaagt« I 
'<A breuth of 'promiso of matriago. Xho baker, baring t>Mn, bjr t 
counael for Mim Hugg, witheringlj- denounced on tliat occBaioD up 
the full amount of twenty guineas, at the rate of about eightvunpei 
an epithet, and having been cast in correBpouding damages, atiU ■ 
&red occasional persecution from the youth of I'entonville. Bat M 
Rugg, environed by the majesty of the law, and having hex daitt 
invested in tbt; public securities, was regarded with consideratiotL. 

In the society of Sir. Rugg, who had a round white vtsag«, na if i 
his blusbc* had been drawn out of him long ago, and who haul 
ragged yellow head like a woru-out hearth-broom ; and in the aot ' 
of Miea Rugg, who had little nankeen spots, like shirt butlona, all 
her iace, and whoae own yellow tresses were rather scrubby than I114 
riant; ilr. Faocks hod usually dined on Sundays for some lew real 
and had twice a week, or «o, enjoyed an evening ooUalion of farei 
Dutch cheese, and porttr. Mr. Paneks was one of the very few an 
rio^able men for whom Miss Rugg bad no terrors, tho nrguncDt wi 
which he re-assured himself being twofold ; tliat is to say, firatl 
"that it wouldn't do twice," and secondly "tluit he wasn't worth U 
Fortified within this double armour, Ur. Poncks snorted al Utsa Euj 
on easy terms. 

Up to this time. Mr. Paneks had transacted little or i 
bis quartern in PeatouvUle, except in the sleeping line ; but, now 
he had become a fortune -leller, ho was often closcttcd after midn 
with Mr. Rugg in his little frant-parlor office, and, cv«n alter tbi 
untimely hours, burnt tallow in his bedroom. Though his dutiM 
his proprietor's grubber were in no wise ItwsenL-d; and though U 
servic* bore no greater reBemblonci- to a bed of roses than was to be d 
covered in its many thorns; some new branch of industry made a c< 
stant demand upon him. When he east off the Patriarch at oigbti 
WAS only to take an anonymous craft in tow, and labor awxjr afrt 
in other waters. 

The advance from a ]>ersonal acquaintonno with the )i]d« I 
Chivery, to an iutntduction to his amiable wife and dis(>onsolat« M 
may have been easy; but easy or not, Mr. Paneks soon madii 
Bo nestled in the bosom of the tobaeeo businese within a week or li 
after his first appearance in tho College, and particiibirly addtMi 
hinuelf to the cultivation of a good understanding with Toting Jol 
In this endeavour bo so prosptTod as to lure tliat pining ahephi 
forth from the groves, and tempt him to undertake mystvrioua 
on which he began to disappear at uncertain inturrala for 1 
apace as two or three days together. Tho prudent Hra. ChimT, « 
wondered greatly at this change, would have proteatcd ogaiaat ii 
dotrimental to the Highland t^-piHeation on the dooqMat, bat Ibr 
fordbte reasons; one, that her Jolm was roused lo take stnwtg inlw n 
the bnsinejs which these starts were suppoRe<l to advanon— «)id 
^ho held to t>c good for his drooping spirit* ; the other, that 
ppanoks t»)nddentially ogrt^ to pay Iicr, for the i>unupati<m of ber ■ 
4niic, at tha handsome t&te of seven and Bix[>euce per day. 
ptvpoaal originatod with hinueU; and was couched in the piUiy In 



UTTLS Don&rr. 219 

"If your John is weak enongh, ma'am, not to take it, that is no reason 
-why you should be, don't you see? So, quite between oursclyes, 
ma am, business being business, here it is !" 

What Mr. Chivery thought of these things, or how much or how 
Httle he knew about them, was never gathered from himself. It has 
been already remaiked that he was a man of few words; and it may be 
here observed, that he had imbibed a professional habit of locking every* .^ 
thing up. He l^lggj^imself MP ^ carefully as he locked up the Maxr \ -'= 
i[bdbe|Jlfiht0ciL "iBvS nis custom of bolting his meals may have been a \ 
yut of an iiidfbnn whole ; but there is no question, that, as to all other ^ *• "^ 
jnnposeSy he kept his mouth.as he kept the Marshalsea door. He never *: " 
<ip^ed it without occasion. When it was necessary to let anything '- 
mtilj he opened it a Httle way, held it open just as long as sufficed for 
"the purpose, and locked it again. Even as he would be sparing of his 
^tzoohle at the Marshalsea door, and would keep a visitor who wanted 
"to go out, waiting for a few moments if he saw another visitor coming 
^0wn the yard, so that one turn of the key should suffice for both, 
flmmlaily he would often reserve a remark if he perceived another on 
^ts way to his lips, and would deliver himself of the two together. As ; 
'b any key to his inner knowledge being to be found in his face, the 
Sbrualsea key was as legible an index to the individual characters 
histories upon which it was turned. 
That Mr. Pancks should be moved to invite any one to dinner 
Pentonville, was an unprecedented fact in his calendar. But 
invited Young John to dinner, and even brought him within 
of the dangerous (because expensive) fascinations of Miss Rugg. 
banquet was appointed for a Sunday, and Miss Kugg with her own 
Ixjuids stuffed a leg of mutton with oysters on the occasion, and sent it 
'tn the baker's — ^not the baker's, but an opposition establishment. 
^^ovision of oranges, apples, and nuts was also made. And rum was 
'bxxmght home by Mr. Pancks on Saturday night, to gladden the 
'^isitoir'B heart. 

The store of creature comforts was not the chief part of the visitor's 

V^eceptiofn. Its special feature was a foregone family confidence and 

vympathy. When Young John appeared at half-past one, without the 

^vmy hand and waistcoat of golden sprigs, the sun shorn of his beams 

^>y msastrous clouds, Mr. Pancks presented him to the yellow-haired 

^oggs as the young man he had so often mentioned who loved Miss Dorrit. 

''I am glad," said Mr. Rugg, challenging him specially in that 

character, " to have the distinguished gratification of making your 

acquaintance, sir. . Your feelings do you honor. You ore young ; may 

yiwi never outlive your feelings ! If I was to outlive my own feelings, 

■iff" said Mr. Rugg, who was a man of many words, and was consi- 

fccd to possess a remarkably good addregs ; ** if I was to outlive my 

own ibelingfl, I'd leave fifty pound in my will to the man who would 

fst me oat of existence." 

IGss Bngg heaved a sigh. 

"My dai^ter, sir," said Mr. Rugg. ''Anastatia, you are no 
ftnmger to the state of this young man's affections. My daughter has 
liad her triab, sir," Mr. Rugg might have used the word more 
jMJntedly in the nngolar number, ** and she can feel for you." 



. . . > 



. » 'J 



SSO LITTLV DORniT. 

Young Jolin, almost ovrrsvlieimod by tho touibing nuturo of 
^■eting, professed himself to tlutt effect. 

"AVTiut I pnyy you, sir, is," said Mr. Rugg, "ollow rao to ti 
your hat — wc are rather short of pegs — I'll put il in the cwi 
nobody will tread in it there — What 1 euTy you, sir, is tlie luxui] 
your own feelings. I belong to a profession in which tbut luxiuj 
sumetimes denied ua," 

Young John replied, with ocknoRledgmenta, thut ho only hopedj 
did what was right, and what showed huw cDtirely ho was deroUid 
Miss Dorrit, He wished to be unselfish ; and he hoped he wa. 
tt-iahcd to do anything as laid in his power to servo Miss Doc 
altogether [>utting himself out of sight ; and he hoped he did. It ' 
but littli' that lie could do, but he hoped he did it. 

" Sir," said Mr. Rug^, taking him by the hand, " you ara a yui 

man that it docs one good to eome across. You are a young man t 

I should like to put in the witness-box, to humanise the minds of 

tV legal profesBion. I hope you hnTc brought your appetito with y 

und intend to play a good knife niiii fork ? " 

"Thank you, sir,'" returned Young John, "I don't cot mnefa 
present." 

Mr. Rugg drew him a little apart. " My daughter's case, rfr," i 
he, "at the time when, in vindicntion of her oulniged focUngB and 
sex, she became the plaintiff in Hugg and Bawkina. I mp] 
eould have put it in e^^dence, Mr. C'hivery, if I had thought it 
my while, that the amount of solid sustenance my daughter ooni 
at that period did nut exceed ten ouncea per week." 

" I think I go a little beyond that, sir," returned thi* other, 
tilting, as if he confensed it with mmc shame. 

" Bat in your case there's no fiend in human form," said Mr. Bn 
with argumcntatix-e smile and action of hand. "Obsene, Hr. Chin 
^o fiend in human form ! " 

" So, sir, certainly," Young John added with simplicity, " I 
be Tpry sorry if there was." 

" The sentimcut," said Mr. Riigg, "is what I should have i 
fWim your known principles. It would afftvt my daughter ^. 
sir, if she heard it. As 1 iiereeive iho mutton, I am glad she d 
hear it. Mr. I'nneks, on this occasion, pray faoc mo, Hy dear, 
Mr. Chiveiy. For what we are going to receive, may wc ^oad 
Dorrit) be Inily Uiankful ! " 

But for a grave wnggishness in Mr. Rtigg's mnnner of i)(4i*tsi 
this iotroduetion (o the ttast, it might hnre npjiean.'d that Mia* On 
was expected to \>v one of the coroiiuny. Panc'ks reeogniaed the N 
in his usual way, and look in his provender in his usual way, 1 
Uugg, perhaps making u]) some of her arrears, likewise took 1 
kindly to the mutton, and it rapidly diminished to the bow. 
bread -and butter pudding entirely disappeared, and a coosidcci 
amount of cheese and mdishrs vanished by the Mme mean*. T 
ctktav the dessert. 

'Hif'tt also, and 1)l^fnre the hrourhing of the nun and wbIit, catne 

fnBcks's note-book, 'ITie ensuing business proceeding invn brief 

—funon*, and nther in the nature of a conspuaey. Mr. Paavka laa 



XJTTLB DOBBTT. 221 

over his note-book which was now getting full, studiously; and 
picl^ed out little extracts, which he wrote on separate slips of paper on 
the table ; Mr. Bugg, in the meanwhile, looking at him with close atten- 
tion, and Young John losing his uncollected eye in mists of meditation. 
When ]£r. Pancks, who supported the character of chief conspirator, 
had completed his extracts, he looked them over, corrected them, put 
op bis note-book, and held them like a hand at cards. 

"liirow, there's a churchyard in Bedfordshire," said Pancks. " Who 
takes it?" 

"Fll take it sir," returned Mr. Eugg, ** if no one bids." 

Vi. Panck^ dealt him his card, and looked at his hand again. 

*'Now, there's an Enquiirin York," said Pancks. *' Who takes it ?" 

'Tm not good for York, said Mr. Kugg. 

"Then perhaps," pursued Pancks, ** you'll be so obliging, John 

Young John assenting, Pancks dealt him his card, and consulted his 
luod again. 

"There's a Church in London; I may as well take that. And a 
PmilyBible ; I may as well take that, too. That 's two to me. Two 
to me," repeated Pancks, breathing hard over his cards. ** Here 's a 
CSok at Durham for you, John, and an old seafaring gentleman 
9t Dmutable for you, Mr. Eugg. Two to me, was it ? Yes, two to 
>Oe. Here's a Stone ; three to me. And a Still-born Baby ; four to 
Qie. Ajddall, for the present, told." 

When he had thus disposed of his cards, all being done very 
quietly and in a suppressed tone, Mr. Pancks pufifed his way into his 
own breast-pocket and tugged out a canvas bag : from which, with a 
^taring hand, he told fordi money for travelling expenses in tr^'o little 
portions. ** Cash goes out fast," he said anxiously, as he pushed a 
portion to each of his male companions, ^^ very fast." 

"I can only assure you, Mr. Pancks/* said Young John, ** that I 
deeply r^:ret my circumstances being such that I can't afford to pay 
niy own charges, or that it's not advisable to allow me the time neces- 
■tty for my doing the distances on foot. Because nothing would give 
i&e greater satisfaction than to walk myself off my legs Mrithout fee or 
leward." 

rTEs young man's disinterestedness appeared so very ludicrous in 
w eyes of Miss Rugg, that she was obliged to effect a precipitate 
'rtircment from the company, and to sit upon the stairs until she 
^ had her laugh out. Meanwhile Mr. Pancks, looking, not without 
^ne pity, at Young John, slowly and thoughtfully twisted up his 
ttttvas bag as if he were wringing its ucck. The lady returning 
•» he restored it to his pocket, mixed rum and water for the party, 
act forgetting her fair self, and handed to every one his glass. \Vhen 
*B were supplied, Mr. Eugg rose, and silently holding out his 
f)uB at arm's length above the centre of the table, by that gesture 
anted the other three to add theirs, and to unite in a genci-ol conspi- 
ratorial clink. The ceremony was effective up to a certain point, and 
Would have been wholly so throughout, if ^liss Eugg, as she raised her 
glass to her lips in completion of it, had not happened to look at Young 
John; when she, was again so overoome by the contemptible comicality 



\ 



223 UrXLB DOKRIT. 

of his disbxterestedness. as to splatter some amb ro si al drops of nm hmI 
water around, and withdraw in confusion. 

Such waa the dinner without precedenty giTen br FUicka it 
Pentonville; and fuch was the busy and strange li£e Pancka M. 
The only waking moments at which he appeared to relax fnm. Ui 
cares, and to recreate him<self by going anywhere or saying anj- 
thing without a pervading object, were when he showed a dawsnv 
interest in the lame foreigner with the stick, down Bleeding Heart Yaid. 

The foreigner, by name John Baptist CaT9llfitt(^-they called lam. 
ITr. Baptist in the Yard — ^wus sucn a chirping, easy, hopefbl litde 
fellow, that his attraction for Pancks was probably in the force of oontrart. 
Solitary, weak, and scantily acquainted with the most neceasarvwordi 
of the only language in which he could communicate with the people 
about liim, he went with the stream of his fortunes, in a brisk way uut 
was now in those parts. TTith little to eat, and less to drink, sad 
nothing to wear but what he wore upon him, or had brought tied up in 
one of the smallest bundles that ever were seen, he put as bright ft 
face upon it as if he were in the most flourishing cireumstsnces, 
when he first hobbled up and down the Yard, humbly propitiating 
the general good-will with his white teeth. 

It was up-hill work for a foreigner, lame or sound, to make ^^ 
way with the Bleeding Hearts. In the first place, they were Tigoe^ 
persuaded that every foreigner had a knife about him; in t3^ 
fiocond, they held it to be a sound constitutional national axL€>'A 
that he ought to go home to his own country. They never thou^^ 
of enquiring how many of their own countrymen would be returr»*^ 
upon their hands from divers parts of the world, if the princi^^ 
were generally recognised ; they considered it particularly and pec:^''^" 
liarly British. In the third place, they had a notion that it wa^ * 
sort, of Divine "visitation upon a foreigner that he was not an 
liKhman, and that aU kinds of calamities happened to his coun' 
because it did things that England did not, and did not do 
that England did. In this belief, to be sure, they had long 
carefully trained by the Barnacles and Stiltstalkings, who W' 
always proclaiming to them, ofliciaUy and unofficially, that no coun' 
■which failed to submit itself to those two large families could possiK^y 
ho[)e to be under the protection of Providence ; and who, when tb-^^ 
believed it, disparaged them in private as the most prejudiced peo;^^*® 
under the sun. 

This, therefore, might be called a political position of the Bleedfi— ^ 
Hearts ; but they entertained other objections to having foreigners ^ 
the Yard. They bclic>:ed that foreigners were always badly off; tm-^^ 
though they were as ill off themselves as they could desire \o be, ttr:^*J 
did not diminish the foree of the objection. Tlicy believed tt'^*^ 
foreigners were dragooned and bayonctted ; and though they certaii^ — ^^ 
got tlieir o\ni skulls promptly fractured if they showed auyill humou-^^^' 
still it was with a blunt instrument, and that didn't count. Th^^^ 
believed that foreigners were always immoral ; and though they had ^^^^*^ 
ocrasional assize at home, and now and then a divorce case or so, that "hjC^ . 
nothing to do with it. They believed that foreigners had no independe^^ ^ 
Hpirit, as never being escorted to the poll in droves by Lord Decimi 



LmxjB xxnuuT. 223 

Tite Bsmade, with odon flying and the time of Bule Britannia playing. 
ISot to be tediotiBy they had many other belie& of a similar kind. 

Against these ohetaoles, the lame foreig^oer with the stick had to 

make head as well as he oonld ; not absolutely single-handed; because 

Mr. Arthur Glennam had recommended hun to the Plomishes (he lived 

at the top of the same house), but still at heavy odds. However, the 

Bleeding Hearts were kind hearts ; and when they saw the little fedlow 

<heerilj limping about with a good-humoured face, doing no harm, 

drawing no knives, committing no outrageous immoralities, living 

^ihiefly on farinaceous and milk diet, and playing with Mrs. Plomish's 

-^shildrenof an evening, they began to think t£at although he could -y 

oiever hope to be an ^glishman, still it would be hard to visit that«c^' 

affliction on his head. They began to accommodate themselves to his 

^lerel, calling him "Mr. Baptist,'' but treating him like a baby, 

snd langhing immoderately at his lively gestures and his childish. 

lEn^iahr— more, because he didn't mind it, and laughed too. Theyj 

arooke to him in very loud voices as if he were stone deaf.^ 

^rhey oonttmcted sentences, by way of teaching him the langna^ 

u its purity, such as were addressed by the savages to Captain 

Ckxxk, or by friday to Bobinson Crusoe. Mrs. Plormsh was parti- 

<3ulaily ingenious in this art; and attained so much celebrity for 

saying ** "Mb ope you leg well soon," that it was considered in the 

^aid bat a very short remove indeed from speaking Italian. Even 

SliB. Flomish herself began to think that she had a natural call towards 

tiiat language. As he became more popular, household objects were 

Immght into requisition for his instruction in a copious vocabulary ; 

<9od whenever he appeared in the Yard, ladies would fly out at 

^Oim doors dying, " Mr. Baptist — teapot ! " '* Mr. Baptist — 

^oit-pan!'' "Mr. Baptist— -flour-dredger ! " "Mr. Baptist— coflfee- 

l>ig^I" At the same time exhibiting those articles, and pcne- 

^ntmg him with a sense of the appalling difficulties of the Ajnglo- 

con tongue. 

It was iu this stage of his progress, and in about the third week of 
"^^ occupation, that Mr. Pancks's fancy become attracted by the little 
Moontiiig to his attic, attended by Mrs. Plomish as interpreter, 
found Mr. Baptist with no furniture but his bed on the ground, 
"^^ table, and a chair, carving with the aid of a few simple tools, in the 
^3tlithest way x>08sible. 

"Now, old chap," said Mr. Pancks, " pay up ! " 
He had his money ready, folded in a scrap of paper, and laughingly 
li^amded it in; then with a free action, threw out as many fingers 
his light hand as there were shillings, and made a cut crosswise 
the air for an odd sixpence. 
"Oh!" said Mr. Pancks, watching him, wonderingly. "That's 
* ^ , is it ? You're a quick customer. It 's all right. I di(&i' t expect to 
'^^^eive it, though." 

Mrs. Plomish here interposed with great condescension, and ex- 
plained to Mr. Baptist. " E please. E glad get money." 

The little man smiled and nodded. His bright face seemed 
^^^oommonly attractive to Mr. Pancks. " How 's he getting on in his 
*^^b f " he asked Mrs. Plomish. 



2U LIE 

"Oh, he's a deal better, cir," said Mrs. Plomiih. "^n|fl 
next week he 'U be able tu Ifave off his stick entirely." (TIlH 
tunity being too fovourablc to be lost, Mrs. Plomish di^layt 
great accompUehment, by czplaining, with pordotmble ^lide, to Uk 
Baptist, " E ope you leg well soon.") 

■' He 's a mcrrj- iVliow, too," eaid Mr. Pnncks, admiring him x 
ho were a mechnnical toy. "How does he live?" 

" Why, air," rejoined Mrs. Plornish, " he turns out to have qmtc i 
powpr ot' carving them flowers that you see him at &ow." (Ml 

Baptist, watching their faces as they spoke, held up his work. 

Plomish ioterprt'tcd in her Italian manner, on behalf of Mr. Panda 
" E please. Double pood ! ") 

*' Can he live by that ? " asked Mr. Poncks. 

" He can live on very little, sir, and it is exppctcd ns He will li 
uble, in time, to make a very good living. Mr. Clcimam gnt iti 
him to do, and gives him odd jobs besides, in at the Wurks next i 
— Biakes 'cm for him, in sliMt, when he knows ho wunta 'em." 

" And what does he do with himself, now, when he ain't hard il 
it ? " said Mr. Pancke. 

" Why, not much as yet, sir, on accounts I suppose of not being a 
to walk much ; but he goes about the Yard, and he chats withoutjwrfi^ 
etilar undentnnding or being understood, and he plays with the chiIdTai| 
und he sits in the sun — he'il sit down anywhere, as if it wm a arm 
choir — and he'll sing, and he'U langh !" , 

"Langb!" echoed Mr. Poncks. " He looks to mo as if utci; lotfi 
in his head was always laughing." 

" But whenever he gets to the top of the steps at t'other cad of ti 
Yard," s;ud Mrs. Plomish, "he'll peep out in the curioosest wy ! 1 
tiiat some of us thinks he's peeping out towards where his own eaatt 
is, and some of us thinks he's looking for somebody he don't want) 
see, and some cf us don't know what to think."' — - 

Mr. Baptist seemed to havo a general uuderstnnding of what d 
said ; or perhaps his quickness canglit and applied her slight nudoa 
peeping. In any case, ho closed his eyes imd tossed hia head « 
the air of a roan who hod his sufficient reasons for what be did, M 
said in his own tongue, it didn't matter. Altro ! 

" What's Altro ?" said Panoks. 

" Hem ! It's n sort of ii general kind of a expression, ht," taai Vi 
Plomish. 

" Is it?" said Panckf. " Why, then Altro to you, old chi^ Oa 
nfltmoon. Allro!" 

Mr. Baptist in his vifacious way rrrpcating the wortl si^runl tim 
Mr. Puncks in bis duller way gave it him haS( once. From that th 
it bociunr n frequent custom with Paacks the gipsy, as he went hot 
jaded at night, to pa«a round by Bleeding Heart Yard, go quietly « 
the timre, look in ut Mr. Baptist's door, nnd, finding him in his rai 
to soy "Hallo, old chap! Altro!" To which Mr. Baptist wo 
rc^ply, with innumerable briglit nods and smiles, " Altrn, sigoorr, at 
alltt), altro!" After this liigbly condensed conversation, Mr. V»a 
wuuld go his way; with on appearance of being lightvned i 



LnTLB DORRrr. 225 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 
nobody's state of mind. 

Xt Artlmr dennam had not arriyed at that wise decision firmly 
to leetrain bimself from loving Pet, he would hare lived on in a 
^ate of much perplexity, involving difficult struggliDs with his own 
iteart Not the least of these woidd have heen a contention, always 
yagiiig within it, hetween a tendency to dislike Mr. Henry Gk>wan, 
if not to r^aid him with positive repugnance, and a whisper 
that the inclination was unworthy. A generous nature is not 
piQoe to strong aversions, and is slow to admit them even dispas- 
oioDttely; hat when it finds ill-wiU gaining upon it, and can discern 
^^etween-whiles that its origin is not di^assionatc, such a nature 
becomes distressed. 

Iberefcxre Mr. Henry Gowan would have clouded Clennam's mind, 
9]id would have hcen far oftencr present to it than more agreeahle 
I^enons and snhjects, hut for the great prudence of his dccison afore- 
said. As it was, Mr. Growan seemed transferred to Daniel Doyce*s 
XKiiiid; at all events, it so happened that it usually fell to Mr. Doyce's 
'tnm, rather than to Clennam's, to speak of him in the friendly con- 
"v^enstions they held together. These were of frequent occurrence 
^ew; as the two partners shared a portion of a roomy house in one of 
"tlie grave old-fiii^oned City streetSj lying not far from the Bank of 
^Rngjimd, hy London Wall. 

Mr. I>oyce had heen to Twickenham to pass the day. Clennam 
Lad excused himself. Mr. Doyce was just come home. He put in 
& head at the door of Clennam' s sitting-room to say Good night. 
"Come in, oome in ! '' said Clennam. 

"I saw you were reading," returned Doycc, as he entered, "and 
'^ll.oiight you might not care to he disturhed." 

But for the notahle resolution he had made, Clennam really might 
have known what he had been reading ; really might not have 
^d his eyes upon the book for an hour past, though it lay open before 
He shut it up, rather quickly. 
"Are they well?" he asked. 

" Yes," said Doycc ; ** they arc well. They are all well." 
Daniel had an old workmanlike habit of cairying hia pocket-hand- 
kerchief in his hat. He took it out and wiped his forehead with it, 
^^owly repeating " they are all well. Miss Minnie looking particularly 
>eU, I thought." 

" Any company at the cottage ? *' 
"No, no company." 

"And how did you get on, you four ? " asked Clennam, gaily. 
"There were five of us," returned liis partner. "There was 
What's-bis-name. He was there." 
''Who is he? ." said Clennam. 



226 lonuB Dcmxa. 

" Mr. Henry Gowan." 

" Ah, to be sure ! " cried Clennain, with unusual vivacit}'. " Tea ! 
—I forgot him/' 

''As I mentioned, you may remember," said Daniel Doyce, "he is 
always there, on Sunday." 

" Yes, yes," returned Clennam; " I remember now." 

Daniel Doyce, still wiping his forehead, ploddingly repeated, '' Yes. 
He was there, he was there. Oh yes, ho was there. And his dog. 
ITe was there too." 

'' Miss Meagles is quite attached to— the— dog," obaervod ClemuoiL 

'' Quite so," assented his partner. ^* More attached to the dog tlMn 
I am to the man." 

" You mean Mr. ?" 

** I mean Mr< Gowan, most decidedly," said Daniel Doyoe. 

There was a gap in the conversation, which Clennam devoted to 
winding up his watch, 

** Perhaps you are a littlo hasty in your judgment," he said. ^'Oar 
judgments — I am supposing a general case " 

** Of course," said Doyce. 

"Ajpo so liable to be influenced by many consideratioD8» wfaidi, 
almost without our knowing it, are unfair, that it is neceasary to keep 
a. guard upon them. Por instance, Mr. " 

** Oowan," quietly said Doyoe, upon whom the utterance of tihe: 
abnost always deTolved. 

** Is young and handsome, easy and quick, has talent, and bat 
a good deal of various kinds of life. It miglit bo difficult to givo 
unselfish reason for being prepossessed against him." 

**Not difficult for me, I think, Clennam," relumed his partsiv. 
**I see him bringing present anxiety, and, I fear, future soiTOir, 
into my old friend's house. I see him wearing deeper lines into 
my old friend's face, the nearer he draws to, and the oftener he 
looks at, the face of his daughter. In short, I see him ^^nth a net 
about the pretty and affectionate creature whom lie will never make 
happy." 

**"VVe don't know," said Clennam, almost in the tone of a man in 
pain, ** that he will not make her hapi)y." 

** We don't know," returned his partner, ** that the t^arth will last 
another hundred years, but we think it highly j)robal)l(r." 

** Well, well I " said Clennam, *' we must be hopeful, and we must 
at least try to be, if not generous (which, in this casi\ we have no 
opportunity of being), just. We will nut (lis]ianigi^ this gi>ntleman, 
because he is successful in his addresses to the beautiful objt»ot of hi* 
ambition ; and we will not question her nulural right to bestow her 
love on one whom she finds worthy of it." 

''May be, mv friend, " said Doyce. *'!Maybe also, that she i* 
too young and pitted, too eonfiding and inexpi'rieneed, to discrimi- 
nate well." 

**That," Sidd Clcunani, *Mvuuld l>e :ar beyond our power of 
correction." 

Daniel Doycv* >hook his head grayely, and n'j«)ined. **I fear so." 

** Therefore, in a word," sidd Ckiinani, **v»e should make up our 



UTILE DOBEIT. 227 

minds that it is not worthy of us to say any ill of Hr. Gowan. It 
would be a poor thing to gratify a prejudice against him. And I 
resolye, £)r my part, not to depreciate him.'' 

**1 am not qnite so sure of myself, and therefore I reserve my 
privilege of objecting to him/' returned the other. '' But, if I am not 
sure of myself, I am sure of ^'ou, Clcnnam, and I know what an 
upright man you are, and how much to be respected. GtK>d night, 
my Mefnd and partner!" He shook his hand in sa^png this, as if 
tfauere had been something serious at the bottom of their conversation ; 
azid they separated. 

By this time, they had visited the family on several occasions, and 
bad always observed that even a passing allusion to Mr. Henry Gk)wan 
when he was not among them, brought back the cloud which had ob- 
Gciired Mr. Meagles's sunshine on the morning of the chance encounter 
at the Feny. If Glennam had ever admitted the forbidden passion 
into his breast, this period might have been a period of real trial ; 
under the actual circumstances, doubtless it was nothing — ^nothing. 

Equally, if his heart had given entertainment to that prohibited guest, 

his sdent fighting of his way through the mental condition of this 

period might have been a little meritorious. In the constant effort not 

to be betrayt^d into a new phase of the besetting sin of his experience, 

the pmsuit of selfish objects by low and small means, and to hold 

ioatoid to some high principle of honor and generosity, there might 

have been a little merit. In the resolution not even to avoid Mr. 

Vo^es's house, lest, in the selfish sparing of himself, he should bring 

any Bhght distress upon the daughter through making her the cause oi 

aa estrangement which he believed the father would regret, there 

'JrilJit have been a little merit. In tlie modest truthfulness of always 

keqiing in view the greater e(iuality of Mr. Gowan* s years, and the 

9<Biter attractions of his person and manner, there might have been a 

tttle merit. In doing all this and much more, in a perfectly unaf- 

ftcted way and with a manful and composed constimcy, while tho 

iMun within him (peculiar as his life and history) was very sharj>, 

thoB might have been some quiet strength of character. Uut, after 

^ke resolution he had made, of course he could have no such merits 

^a tliese ; and such a state of mind was nobody's — nobody's. 

Xr. Ciowan made it no concern of his whether it was nobody's or 

•osuebody's. He preserved his perfect serenitj' of manner on all 

^^^scaaons, as if the possibility of Clennam's presuming to have debated 

^**e great question were too distant and ridicidous to be imagined. He 

^*id always an affJEibility to bestow on Clennam and an ease to treat 

^itt with, which might of itself (in the supposititious case of his not 

*^^^iiig tdken that sagacious course) have been a very uncomfortable 

^^cment in his state of mind. 

^^ "I quite regret you were not with us yesterday," said Mr. Henn* 
^*t)wan, calling on Clennam next morning. " We had an agreeable day 
^"I^ the river there." 

So he had heard, Arthur said. 

**From your partner?" returned Ilenrv Gowun. " "Wliat a dear old 

Wheifl!" 

"I have a great regard for him." 

O. 'I 



238 



LITTLB DOHKIT. 



" ]ly Jove he is the finest i;rcaturc ! " eaid fiowaii. " So &m1i, M 
green, trusts in such wonderful thingfs ! ' 

Here was one of the many little rough points that had a tendency^ 
to grate on Clennam's hearing. He put it oaide by merely rfpeoting 
that he had a high regard for Mr. Doycc. 

" Ho is ehanning ! To nee him mooning along to tliiit time v 
life, lapng down nothing bj- the way and pieking up nothing I>y the 
way, is delightful. It warms a man. So unspoilt, so simple, Kuii » 
good soul ! Vpoa my life, Hr. Clcniium, one feels despenttiily vrorldly 
und wicked, in eomporison with suL'h on innocent ereaturc. I'spnu 
for myself, let me add, without including you. You are genmne, alto." 

" 'niank you for the compliment," eoid Clonnam, ill at ease ; " yo« 
arc too, I hope?" 

" So 80," rejoined the other. " To be cnndid with yoti, toleralily. 
urn not a great impostor. Buy one uf my pictures, and I assure you, ia 
eonfidenoe, it will not be wortli the money. Buy one of anotliern * 
— any great professor who bents me hollow — and tlie chanee« are 
the mi>re yon give him, thomorehe'Uimposoupon you. Tlieyalldoit.'* 

" All painttirs ? " 

" Pointers, writers, patriots, all the rest who Imvc sUuida in flM 
market. Give almost any man I know, ten pounds, and hi- will iiBp< 
U{Kiii yon to a corresjHiniliug extent : a tliou.wnd pouoda — to » can 
KIKinding extent ; ten tlioufaind jHiundi — to a corresponding estcuL 
great the snocess, so great the imiwsition. But what a ei^iiial tta 
it is!" cried Gowan with warm cntbunaam. "What a jolly, cxoeBi 
lovmbb world it is ! " 

"I had mthcr thought," s^d Clennnm, "that the prinotpUi j 
mention was chiefly acted on by " 

" By the Barnacles?" interrupted Oowan, laughing. 

" By the political gentlemen who eendcscend to keep the Cireumlseu 
tion Office." 

"Ah! Don't hv hard upon the Barnacle*," raid Gowon, Isu^ 
airedi, " they arc darling fellows ! Even poor little Chirmee, Htf h . .^^ 
idiot of the family, is the must agreeable imd mo»t i>ndcuring blockliMd! 
And by Jupiter, with a kind of dercniesa in hiui too, that i ' 
astonish you '. " 

" It would. Very much," said Clennam, drily. 

" And after all," criod tJowan. with that characteristic h 
liis which retluccd rrerrlhing in the wide world to the * 
weight, "though I enn t deny ttmt the Ciirundoeutton Office tv 
ultimately abipwrevk eTeD-bijdjr luid eviaything, Biin, tlial wtlfpn 
bably not he in ow time — and it's a school for gentle men." 

'* It's a very daneerons, unsatisfactory, and expensire school to t] 
people who pay to keep the pTipils there, I am alVaid," said C 
iduuing his hood. 

"Ah! Toil are a t»,Trible fellow," returned Gowan, airily. "Iw 
undentand how yuu lia^x' frightened that little donkey, C 
the mo«t estimable of mooncnlvca (I really love himi. nt-arly out of U 
■wit*. But enough of him. and of all the rest of lliem. I i " "^^ 
I jnwut you to my mother, Mr. Clennam. Pray du ni: titc | 



UTILE DOREIT. 229 

In nobody's state of mind, there was nothing Clennam would have 
desired less, or would have been more at a loss how to avoid. 

"My mother lives in the most primitive manner down in that 
dreary red-brick dungeon at Hampton Court," said Gowan. " If you 
would make your own appointment, suggest your own day for per- 
mitting me to take you there to dinner, you would be bored and she 
wggid be dwBBed. EeaUy that's the state of the case." 

What could Clennam say after this ? His retiring character included 
a great deal that was simple in the best sense, because unpractised and 
unused ; and, in his sim^city and modesty, he could only say that 
he was happy to place hmiself at Mr. Gowan' s disposal. Accordingly 
he said it, and the day was fixed. And a dreaded day it was on his 
grt, and a very unwelcome day when it came, and they went down to 
Hampton Court together. 

The venerable inhabitants of that venerable pile seemed, in those times, 
to be en(»mpcd there like a sort of civilised gipsies. There was a tem- 
porary air about their establishments, as if they were going away the 
moment they could get anything better; th^re was also a dissatisfied air 
about themselves, as if they took it very ill that they had not already got 
something much better. Genteel blinds and mako-shifts were more or less 
olMervable as soon as their doors were opened ; screens not half high 
enough, which made dining-rooms out of arched passages, and warded off 
obscure comers where footboys slept at night with their heads among 
the knives and forks ; curtains which called upon you to believe that 
ftey didn't hide anything ; panes of glass which requested you not to 
see them ; many objects of various forms, feigning to have no connexion 
with their guilty secret, a bed ; disguised traps in walls, which were 
dearly coal-cellars; a^ectations of no thoroughfares, which were 
evidently doors to little kitchens. Mental reservations and artful 
njsteries grew out of these things. Callers, looking steadily into the 
eyes of their receivers, pretended not to smell coolang three feet off ; 
people, confronting closets accidentally left open, pretended not to see 
l>ottie6 ; visitors, with their heads against a partition of thin canvas and 
^ P*g6 Mid a young female at high words on the other side, made believe 
to be sitting in a primeval silence. There was no end to the small," 
social accommodation-bills of this nature which the gipsies of gentility 
Were constantly drawing upon, and accepting for, one another. 

Some of these Bohemians were of an irritable temperament, as 
^^stantly so^^^ and vexed by two mental trials : the first, the con- ,- 
•^ousness that they had never got enough out of the public; 
^e second, the consciousness that the public were admitted into 
«ie building. Under the latter great wrong, a few suffered dread- 
'J^Uy — ^particularly on Sundays, when thoy had for some time expected 
^^ earth to open and swallow the public up ; but which desirable 
?^CMit had not yet occurred, in consequence of some reprehensible laxity 
^ the arrangements of the Universe. 

^rs. Gkywan's door was attended by a family servant of several 
^^^Ts' standing, who had his own crow to pluck with the public, con- 
^^^'^ling a situation in the Post Office which he had been for some tim^ 
'^^pecting, and to which he was not yet appointed. He -^^rfecfiL^ Yxicv 
*^^t the paUic coald never have got him in, but lie gnmij ^jwJaSksA 



1 

\ 



230 LilTLU DOIUUT. 

himself with the i(l( a that the puhlic kept him out. Under the 
influonco of this injun' (and perhaps of somi? little straitness and irre- 
guliirity in the matter of wa*^.*8), he lind pro^^'n nc'glectftil of hij« per- 
son and inoro^' in miud; and now heholding in Ciennam one of the 
degraded hody of his oppressors, ree^ived him with ignominy. 

!Mre. Go wan, ho^^'ever, received him with condese^^nsion. He found 
her a courtly old lady, formerly a Bt»aut}', and still sufficiently well- 
favoured to have dispensed vrith the powder on her nose, and a certain 
impossibl(> bloom under each eye. She was a little lofty with him : 
so was another old lady, dark-browed and high-nosed, and who miut 
have had something real about her or she could not have existed, 
but it was c(TtaiiiIy not her hair or her teeth or her figure or her 
complexion ; so was a grey old gentleman of digniiii'd and sullon appear- 
ance ; both of whom had come to dinner. But, as they hod all been in 
the British Embassy way in sundiy parts of the earth, and as a British 
Embassy cannot better establish a character with the Circumlocutian. 
Office than by treating its compatriots with illimitable contempt (dwr- 
it would become like th(> Embassies of other countries), Ciennam felt* 
that on the whole they let him off lightly. 

The dignificKl old gentleman turned out to be Lonl Lancaster Stilt — 
stalking, who had been maintained b}* the Circumlocution Office foi — 
many years as a representative of the Britannic Migesty abroad. Iliic 
noble Befrigerator had iced several Euro|)(^an courts in his time, 
had done it vrith. such complete success that the verj' name of Engliih- 
:nan yet Htnuk cold to tin* stoniadis of foreigners who had the di* 
tin;:uislu'd lumur of rcincnilKTing liim, :it a distance of a qimrtcr of r 
ci-ntuiy. 

JIi' was now in retircnirnt, and lirncc -in a pou'uTous wliiteeTavat, likt 
a stiff snow-drift , wa"^ m) obligin;;: as to shadr the dinner. Theiv was 
whispiT of i\w ptTvadiiiji: JJt)hcniian <harartcrin the nomadic nalun? o- 
^\\o si'Tvk-v, and its curions nuis of ])latos anddislus; but the noble Re- 
frigerator, inlinitily l»ttiT tlian ]»late or ])onrlain, made it sujH-rb 
Hf shaded the diniur, <• olitl ilu- winis, chilh'd tin* gravy, and blights 
the vi'ixctables. 

Tlurt' was only one ollur jHis<:n in tlse i"noni : a microsefipicall^T" ) 
small foot boy, who waited on tlu- malivoh nt man who hadn't p" '* 

intn the Post-etliee. Ev< n this >onth. if his ja« l;et conld liave IhV ^^' 
niiI)Uttoned and his heart laid hare, w»nild liave In en nen. a^ a distan^C^"*' 
adiiTent of the Barnacle family, already Xo asj»ire to a situation undt -^^ 
(JovemnK-nt. 

Mrs. (ro^\:ln wilh a gent]*- nnlan<holy uj)on lier, o<-eaMf»ned by lu -^■ 
*ion*s Ining ruhntd to <-on!t tin* swini>ii ])ublie as a folhiwer of ^^-^^ ^ 
h)W Arts, instead of a^st riii:;: l.'is ])irthni;ht and ]iutting a ring ihiwipT — ^| 
its n«isi' as an aekr.< wle<l;:i'd JJ;irna»le, headetl tlMM-onversiitiifUat dinnt- ^' 
fin the t vil davs. If was tlien that Ciennam leanud for the lirvt tim '^ "' 
wliaT little jiivnts this p^nal wnrhl goes round u]»un. 

" If John liarnaele," said Mrs. (iowan, after the degen< ra< y of th« 
times had l>een fnlly ascertained, ** if .luhn J'arna* le lual but aban 
don«'d his nawt uni'ortunate i<H a of euneiliating the mob, all wouli^ 
have been well, and 1 tliink the country wnnld have been j»n.»served." 
Tht' (thl huly with the b'vj:^>i uoh- w-sv \\\vd, but added that if Augu^tu 




UTTLB DOBRTT. 231 

idng had in a general way ordered the cavalry out with instruc- 
' ohaige, aho thought the country would have been preserved, 
loble BeMgerator assented; but added that if William Barnacle 
lor StQtBtaUdng, when they came over to one another and formed 
er memorable coalition, had boldly muzzled the newspapers, 
idered it penal for any Editor-person to presume to dis- 
) conduct of any appointed authority abroad or at home, he ^ 

j.the country would have been preserved. » v ■ 

as agreed that the c ountry (another word for the Bsmades, ^r 
iltilalliing^ii) wanted preserving, but how it came to want 
iig was not so clear. It was only clear that the question was 
it John Barnacle, Augustus Stiltstalking, William Barnacle and 
Stiltstalking, Tom, Dick, or Harry Baroaole or Stiltstalldng, 
there was nobody else but mob. And this was the feature of 
reraation which impressed Clonnam, as a man not used to it, 
B^gieeably: wiakiTig him doubt if it were quite right to sit 
ilaitly hearing a great nation narrowed to such little boundfi. 
bering, however, that in the Parliamentary debates, whether 
ife of that nation's body or the life of its soiu, the question was 
all about and between John Barnacle, AuguJstus Stiltstalking, 
1 Bamade and Tudor Stiltstalking, Tom, Dick, or Harry 
e or Stiltstalking, and nobody else ; he said nothing on the 
mob, bethinking himself that mob was used to it. 
lenry Crowan seemed to have a malicious pleasure in playing 
three talkers against each other, and in seeing Glennam startled 
; they said. Having as supreme a contempt for the class that 
> wn him off, asTor the "class that had riot taken him on, he had . ." 
anal disquiet in anytlung that passed. His healthy state of V.^ 
qpeared even to derive a gratification from Clennam's position 
arrassment and isolation among the good company ; and if 
1 had been in that condition with which Nobody was inces- 
ontending, he would have suspected it, and would have strug- 
kh the suspicion as a meanness, even while he sat at the table. 
e course of a couple of hours the noble Refrigerator, at no time 
1 a hundred years behind the period, got about five centuries 
ir, and delivered solemn political oracles appropriate to that - 
He finished by freezing a cup of tea for his own drinking, and 
at his lowest temperature. 

Mrs. Gowan, who had been accustomed in hor days of state to 

Taeant arm-chair beside her to which to summon her devoted 

me by one, for short audiences as marks of her especial fevor, 

Clennam \rith a turn of her fan to approach the presence. He 

and took the tripod recently vacated by Lord Lancaster 
Mng. 
. Clennam," said Mrs. Gowan, " apart from the happiness I 

beocming known to you, though in this odiously inconvenient 
I mere barrack — there is a subject on which I am d3ring 
: to you. It is. the subject in connection with which my son 
I, I believe, the pleasure of cultivating your acquaintance." 
Am inclined his head, as a generally suitable reply \j^ 'wVkJaX. "Hife 
yet quite understand. 



u^ 



IP- 



232 lutlb dobbit. 

** First/' said Mrs. Gowan, ** now is she really pretty ? * 
In nobody's difficulties, he would have found it yery difflcuU to 
answer ; very difficult indeed to smile, and say '' Who ? " 

" Oh ! You know ! " she returned. " This flame of Henry's. TIm 
unfortimate fancy. There ! If it is a point of honor that I shookd 
originate the name — Miss Mickles — ^Miggles." 

** Miss Meagles/' said dennam, ''is Tcry beautiful." 

" Men are so often mistaken on those points/' returned Mrs. Gowait, 
aliftlriTig her head, '' that I candidly confess to you I feel anything Irat 
sure of it, even now ; though it is something to have Henry coRob*- 
rated with so much gravity and emphasis. He picked the people w^ it 
Rome, I think?" 

The phrase would have given nobody mortal offence. Gleimim 
replied ** Excuse me, I doubt if I imderstand your expression." 

'' Picked the people up," said Mrs. Go wan, tapping the sticks of ber 
closed fan (a large green one, which she used as a hand-screen) upon 
her little table. " Came upon them. Eound them out. Stumbled 
against them." 

"The people?" 

" Yes. The Miggles people." 

''I really cannot say," said Clcnnam, "where my firiend lb- |^ 
Meagles first presented Mr. Henry Growan to his daughter." 

"I am pretty sure he picked her up at Eome; but never visi 
where— somewhere. Now (this is entirely between ourselTes), tiito 
very plebeian ? " 

" Really, ma'am," returned Clennam, " I am so undoobtiefiy 
plebeian myself, that I do not feel qualified to judge." 

" Very neat! " said Mrs. Growan, coolly unfurling her screen. " Vc*y 
happy ! From which I infer that you secretly think her mann^ 
equal to her looks ? " 

Clennam, after a moment's stiffiiess, bowed. ^ 

** That's comforting, and I hope you may be right. Did Henry t^ 
me you had travelled with them ? " 

" I travelled with my fricijid Mr. Meagles, and his wife and danghfc^^ 
during some months." (Nobody's heart might have been wrung by 
remembrance.) 

" Eeally comforting, because you must have had a large 
of them. You sec, Mr. Clennam, this thing has been goyig on ^w.^ ^ 
long time, and I find no improvement in it. Therefore to haire ^^^^m 
opportunity of speaking to one so well informed about it as yonrs^ ^^^ ^ 
is an immense relief to me. Quite a boon. Quite a blessing, I 



sure." 



"Pardon me," returned Clennam, "but I am not in Mr. B^eii-^^^ 
Go wan' 8 confidence. I am far from being so well informed as y^^^ 
suppose me to be. Your mistake makes my position a veiy delica^^\: 
one. No word on this topic has ever passed between Mr. Hen:^:^^^^^-^ 
Gowan and myself." 

Mrs. Gowan glanced at the other end of the room, where her 
was playing ecarte on a sofa, with the old lady who was for a 
of cavalry. 

"Not in his confidence? No," said Mrs. Gowan. "No word hat 




UTTLB DOBRTT. 233 

between yon ? No. That I can imagine. But there are nnexpressed 
confidences, Mr. Glcnnam ; and as you- have been together intimately 
among these people, I cannot doubt that a confidence of that sort 
exists in the present case. Perhaps you have heard that I have suffered 
• the keenest distress of mind from Henry's having taken to a pnrsuit 
which — ^well ! " shrugging her shoulders, *' a very respectable pursuit, 
J dare say, and some artists are, as artists, quite superior persons ; still, 
we never yet in our family have gone beyond an Amateur, and it is a 
pardonable weakness to feel a little ** 

As Mrs. Ck>wan broke off to heavo a sigh, Glcnnam, however 
VBBolute to be magnanimous, could not keep down the thought that 
there was mighty little danger of the family's ever going beyond an 
Amateur, even as it was. 

** Henry," the mother resumed, ** is self-willed and resolute ; and 
as these people naturally strain every nerve to catch him, I can enter- 
tain very liUle hope, "Mx. Cleimam, that the thing will bo broken off. 
I apprehend the girl's fortune will be very small ; Henry might have 
donie much better ; there is scarcely anything to compensate for the 
ooanectaon : still, ho acts for himself; and if I find no improvement 
within a short tune, I see no other course than to resign myself, and 
make the best of these people. I am infinitely obliged to you for what 
yon have told me." 

As she shrugged her shoulders, Clennam stiffly bowed again. With 
«a uneasy flush upon his face, and hesitation in his manner, he then 
lud, in a still lower tone than he had adopted yet : 

" Mrs. Gowan, I scarcely know how to acquit myself of what I 
&eL to be a dnty, and yet I must ask you for your kind consideration 
in attempting to discharge it. A misconception on your part, a very 
great misconception if I may venture to call it so, seems to require 
setting right. Yon have supposed Mr. Meaglcs and his family to strain 
erery nerve, I think yon said " 

"Eveiy nerve," repeated Mrs. Growan, looking at him in calm 
obstinacy, with her green fan between her face and the fire. 

" To secure Mr. Henry Gowan ? " 

The lady placidly assented. 

"Now that is so far," said Arthur, ''from being the case, that 
I know Mr. Meagles to be unhappy in this matter ; and to have inter- 
posed all reasonable obstacles, with the hope of putting an end to it." 

Mrs. Ck>wan shut up her great green fan, tapped him on the arm 
'*»ith it, and tapped her smiling lips. '* Why, of course," said she. 
" Just what I mean." 

Arthur watched her face for some explanation of what she did mean. 

** Are you really serious, Mr. Clennam ? Don't you see ? " 

Arthur did not see ; and said so. 

•* Why, don't I know my son, and don't I know that this is exactly 
^*^e way to hold him?" said Mrs. Gowan, contemptuously; **and 
^^ not these Miggles people know it, at least as well as I? Oh, 
2^yewd people, "Mr. Clennam: e\idently people of business ! I believe 
^^iggles belonged to a Bank. It ought to have been a very profitable 
^^^ik, if he had much to do with its management. TVu& \% Norj ^^ 
^^nw, indeed." 



234 LirrLE dorrit. 

" I beg and entreat you, ma'am '* Arthur interposed. 

" Oh Mr. Clennom, can you really be so credulous ! " 

It made such a painful impression upon him to hear her talK "g^g 
in this haughty tone, and to see her patting her contemptuous lips ir^±h 
her fan, that he said very earnestly, ** EeHcve me, ma'am, this is 
unjust, a perfectly groundless suspicion." 

"Suspicion?" repeated Mrs. Gowan. "Not suspicion, Mr. CL^n-r 
nam, Certainty. It is very knowingly done indeed, and seems to h^sre 
taken f/oii in completely." She laughed; and again sat tapping S^i^er 
lips with her fan, and tossing her head, as if she added, " Don t tell ^sae. 
I know such people will do anything for the honor of such an 
alliance." 

At this opportune moment, the cards were thrown up, axid I^Mr. 
Henry Gowan came across the room saying, "Mother, if you can e^ ^ffc 
Mr. Clennam for this time, wo have a long way to go, and it's getU "^H 
late." Mr. Clennam thereupon rose, as he had no choice but to ^o; 
and Mrs. Gowan showed him, to the last, the same look and the 
tapped contemptuous lips. 

" You have had a portentously long audience of my mother," 
Gbwan, as the door closed upon them. " I fenxntly hope she has ^WJt 
bored you?" 

" 2^'ot at all,'* said Clennam. 

They had a little open phaeton for the journey, and were soon ir ^ ^^ 
on the road home. Gowan, driving, lighted a cigar ; Clennam deili ^f^ 
one. Do what he would, he fell into such a mood of abstraction, t^=^^^ 
Gt)wan said again, " I am very much afiraid my mother has bored yoi^^^ 
To which he roused himself to answer, "^'^ot at all;" and s— — oon 
relapsed again. 

In that state of mind which rendered nobody uneasy, his thoo^^^S^ 
fulness would have turned principally on the man at liis side. ^, 

would have tliought of the morning when he first saw him rooting ^^^ ^^ 
jjtJio^ stones with his heel, and would have asked himself " Does he j^ '^^ 
^c out of the path in the same careless, cruel way ? " He wo — -^•'^ 
liave thought, had this introduction to his mother been brought ab^ ^u 
by him because he knew what she would say, and that ho could tl^^^^--^^ 
place his position before a rival and loftily warn him off, with*- --^®^^ 
himself reposing a word of confidence in him? He would Y'^ ^a^ 
^ thought, even if there were no such design as that, had he brought 
• ^ there to play with his repressed emotions, and torment him ? flie c 
; rent of these meditations would have been stayed sometimes by a 
, of shame, bearing a remonstrance to himself from his own open 
representing that to shelter such suspicions^ even for the 
moment, was not to hold the high, unenvious course he had reaol 

to keep. At those times, the striving within him w^uld have \n ^^^ 

hardest ; and looking up and catching Go^van's eyes, he would hc^S^^*^ 
started as if he had done him an injurj-. 

Then, looking at the dark road and. its uncertain objects, he woi 
have gradually trailed off again into thinking, "Where are 
driving, he and I, I wonder, on the darker road of life ? How 
it be with us, and with her, in the obscure distance ? " Thinking 
her, he would have been troubled anew with a reproachful 






UTTLB DORRIT. 235 

Lfitt it was not even loyal to her to dislike liim, and that in being so 
^ily prejudiced against him he was less deserving of her than at first. 
^ * * Yon are evidently ont of spirits," said Gowan ; " I am very much 
srmd my mother most have bored you dreadfully." 
* * Believe me, not at all," said Clennam, **It*s nothing — ^nothing! " 



CHAPTEE XXVIL 



FIVE-Aia)-TWEyTY. 



A FBBQiTEKTLr recurring doubt, whether Mr. Pancks's desire to col- 
lect information relative to the Dorrit family could have any possible 
bearing on the misgivings he had imparted to his mother on his return 
fiom his long exile, caused Arthur Clennam much uneasiness at this 
period. /IThat Mr. Pancks already knew about the Dorrit Heonily, 
what more he really wanted to find out, and why he should trouble 
his busT head about them at aU, were questions that often perplexed , ^ 
\ajak, Mr. Pancks was not a man to waste his time and trouble in • \V^ 
researches prompted by idle curiosity. That he had a specific obj ect -v 
Uiemkam could not doubt. And whether the attainment of that object i^'"' 
}y Mr. Pancks's industry might bring to light, in some imtimely way, ' . 
wczet reasons which had induced his mother to take Little Dorrit by 
the hand, was a serious speculation. 

Not that he ever wavered, either in his desire or his determination 
to repair a wrong that had been done' in his father's time, should a 
irrong come to light, and be reparable. The shadow of a supposed act 
of injustice, which had hung over him since his father's death, was 
10 Ta^e and formless that it might be the result of a reality 
iriddy remote from his idea of it. But, if his ^prehensions should 
prove to be well founded, he was ready at any moment to* lay down 
lU he had, and begin the world anew. As the fierce dark teaching of his 
:}iildhood had never sunk into his heart, so the first article in his code j 
)f morals was, that he must begin, in practical humility, with looking I 
reU to his feet on Earth, and tiiat he coald never mount on wings of L 
rords to Heaven. Duty on earth, restitution on earth, action on eiffth :^ 
bese first, as the first steep steps upward. Strait was the gate and 
arrow was the way ; far straiter and narrower than ihe broad high 
yad paved with vain professions and vain- repetitions, motes from ; 
ther men's eyes and liberal delivery of others to the judgment — all ^ 
beap materials, costing absolutely nothing. 

Ko. It was not a selfish fioar or hesitation that rendered him uneasy, 
at A nustnist lest Pancks might not observe his part of the under- 
^^fnAtriff between th^n, and, making any discovery, might take some 
>iiTBe upon it without imparting it to him. On the other hand, when 
e recalled his conversation with Pancks, and the little reason ho 
ad to 8ap{H>9e that there was any likelihood of that strange per- 
>nage being on that track at all, there were times wlien Yii^.^w^^fliidisED^ 



s 



LITTLB DORWT. 



that he mode so ranch of it. Liiboring in this sea, as all barka labc 
in cross was, he tusscd about, and carae to no havt'ii. 

The removal of Little Dorrit hereelf from Ihtir customRry i 
ation. 



inuch in her a 



1 not mend ttic matttr. She ' 



< much out, and ! 



. thnt he began to misn her and to find i 



u her plucc. He had written to her to enquire if sho wen bettrr 
and Bhc had writton back, very gratefully mid earnestly, tolling h' 
not to bi- uneasy on her bchaU', for eho waa quite irell; but bt I: 
not suen her, for what, in their intercouree, was a long time. 

Ho returned homo one evening from an interview with her fhthf 
'' who had mentioned that flho was out viMting — which was what h— 
always said, when she was hard at work to buy his supper — uii^ 
found Mr. Meagles in on excited state walking up and down hi — . 
room. On his opening the door, Mr. Heagles stopped, taeed rounilH 
and said, 

" Clennam ! — Tattycoram ! " 

"What's the matter?" 

"Lost!" 

"Wby, bless my heart olive!" cried Clennam, in arajutcmraC: 
"JSQiAtdoyoumean?" 

r " Wouldn't count five-and-twen^, sir ; couldn't be got to do il 
plopped ttt eight, and took herself off." 

"Left your house?" 

" ^ever to come back," said Hr. Keagles, shaking his h<wl. "Tv^ 
don't know that girl's passionate and proud character,. A tdim ^v 
horeea couldn't dt^w her back now; the bolts ancfltan of the ol^ 
Bastille couldn't keep her." 

" How did it happen ? Pray sit down and tell inc." 

" Aa to how it happened, it's not so cosy tu relate; txvaitse Jfl^ 
must have the unfortunate temperament of the poor impetuous pe^ 
herself, before you can fidly understand il. But it came about i^ 
this way^ Pet and Mother and I have been having u good deal i^ 
; talk together, of late. I'll not dinguiN' from you. Clennam, tliat tho»^ 
eonvcTsutions have not been of as bright a kind as I could with; tbc^ 
iliavc referred to our (i^oing away again. In proposing tu do wtiidi, .- 
lutve had, In fatt, on ubjeet." 

Nobody's heart beat ((uickly, , 

"An object," said Mr. Meaglea, after a moment's pause, "tlut _- 
will not disguise from you. either, Clennam. There's on incliniUii'^ 
on thp part of my dear child which I am sorry for. PeHuiiM ja^ 
guus the pt^nwn. Henry Oowan." 
" I wn* not unprepared ti) hear it." 

" Well ! " said Mr. Mmtfjlos, wiili a heavj- righ. " I wish 1o Ooca 
you had never had to hear it. However, so it is. Mother aai I hsW 
done all wo could to get the better of it, (lennam, We how tnt& 
Uaid«T nd^'icc, we have tried time, wo hove tried absence. A» ye*?- 
of no use. Oht late conversations have been upon tbe Kubjtct of giiinri 
away for another year at least, in order that there migbt W ■ 
entire eepaiation and breaking off for that t«rm. Upon that qiMM' 
£(pt luu boon uobaopy, uul thwefim Molhc-r and I hwn J 



LIITLE DOURIT. 237 

Clennam said that he could easily believe it. 

*' Well!" continued Mr. Meagles in an apologetic way, "I admit 
as a practical man, and I am sure Mother would admit as a practical 
-woman, that we do, in families, magnify our troubles and make 
monntaJTiB of our molehills, in a way that is calculated to be rather 
trying to people who look on — ^to mere outsiders you know, Clennam. 
Still, Pef 8 happiness or unhappiness is quite a life or death question 
-with US ; and we may be excused, I hope, for making much of it. At 
all erents, it might have been borne by Tattycoram. I^ow, don't you 
tlunkso?" 

"I do indeed think so," returned Clennam, in most emphatic 
Teoomition of this very moderate expectation. 

''No, sir," said Mr. Meagles, shaking his head rucfuUy. ''She 
conldn^t stand it. The chafing and finng of that girl, the wearing and 
tearing of that girl within her own breast, has been such that I have 
softly said to her again and again in passing her, ' Eive-and-twenty, 
Tattycoram, five-and-twenty ! ' I heartily wish she could have gone 
on counting five-and-twenty day and night, and then it wouldn't have 
bappened." 

Mr. Meagles, with a despondent countenance in which the goodness 
of his heart was even more expressed than in his times of cheerfolness 
and gaiety, stroked his iacc down from his forehead to his chin, and 
shook his head again. 

** I said to Mother (not that it was necessary, for she would have 
tlion^t it aU for herself), we are practical people, my dear, and we 
know her story ; we see, in this unhappy girl, some reflection of what 
"Vas raging in her mother's heart before ever such a creature as this 
poor thmg was, in the world ; we'll gloss her temper over, Mother, we 
"^0ii't notice it at present, my dear, we'll take advantage of some better 
dttpontion in her, another time. So we said nothing. • But, do what 
^e would, it seems as if it was to be ; she broke out violently one 
nigjit." 

"How, and why?" 

** If you ask me Why," said Mr. Meagles, a little disturbed by 
the question, for he was far more intent on softening her case than 
the fanuly'Sy " I can only refer you to what I have just repeated as 
slaving been pretty near my words to Mother. As to How, we had 
*^d QixA night to Pet in her presence (very affectionately, I must, \ 
^ow), and she had attended Pet upstairs — ^j-ou remember she was het ^ 
^'^d. Perhaps Pet, having been out of sorts, may have been a little 
J^re inconsiderate than usual in requiring serviciis of her : but I don't 
**iow that I have any right to say so ; she was alwavs thoughtful and 
gentle." 

** The gentlest mistress in the world." 
, "Thank you, Clennam," said Mr. Meagles, shaking him by the 
^^d; "you haee often seen them together. Well! We presently 
**ea»d this unfortunate Tattycoram loud and angr}% and before wo 
^^Uld ask what was the matter, Pet came back in a tremble, saying 
*^e was frightened of her. Close after her came Tattycoram, in a 
^*Uiuiig xago^ •-* I hate you all three,' says she, stamping her foot at us. 
I am bursting with hate of the whole house.' " 



238 



UriXK DOEKtT. 



I 



" Upon which yo) 

" I 'i " said Ifr. Ueaglcs, with a plain good faith, that B 
roininiuidcd the belief of Mrs. Gownn herself : " I said, coant &v«- 
and-twenty, Tattycoram." 

Mr. MbogleB again stroked bis &ce and shook bis head, with an a,' 
of profound regret. 

" She was so uaed to do it, Clmnsni, that even then, such a pici 
of paBsioa as you nevir saw, she stopped short, looked mt AiU in 
face, and counted lus I made oat) to eight. But she couldu't rantroU 
herseli' to gu any ftii'thtT. There she hroke down, poor thin^, 
gave tbo other scTenteen to the fourwinds. Theiii it all bunt out. ShL>« 
detested n», ehe was iniserable with us, she couldn't b«ir it, i' 
wouldn't bear it, sht^ vas determined to go away. &h» won youDgci~ 
than her young mistress, and would she remain to see her always ImI " 
up as the only creature who was young and inUrresting, tind to b 
cberiahed and lorcd ? No. She wouldn't, she wouldn't. ih,o wuuldn'tti 
^'What did we think she, Tattycoram, mij;ht have bt*n if she h 
?can;Gecd and cared for in her childhood, like her young r 
tjgoodashcr? Ah! Perhaps fiflj- timts tia goud. "WTwrn we p 
to be so fond of one another, we csultcd over L<7r; that wu n 
did ; we exulted over her, and shamed her. And all in tho h 
the same. They talked about their &thers and mothen, I 
and sisters; they liked to drag them np, before her fiwe, 
was Mrs. Ticldt, only yesterday, when her little gnuodofa 
with her, had been amused by the child's trying to call her C 
coram) by the nt-rctchcd uame wc gave her ; and bad laughed % 
posu!. Why, who didn't ; and who were wc that wc ^hoiild b 
jb-tght to name her hke it dog or a cat? But, she diiln't care, 
would take no more hcntdits from us ; die would Aiug u» Ji CT . 
back again, and she would go. 8ho would leave us that minute, i 
body should stop her, and we should nercr hear of her again." 

Mr. Mcagk's hud recited all ttus with such a vi\'id remeinbi 
his original, that he was ohnost as flushed aud hot by this t 
he described her to have bron. 

" Ah, weU 1 " he said, wiping his face. " It was of no ui 
reason ihtm, with that vehement panting ereulun; (Heaven \aan 
her mother's story must have been) : v» 1 quietly told her ihut il 
not go at that late hour of night, and I gave her my hand mtA 
to her room, and locked the house doors. Ihit she ma | 
looming." 

" And you know no moro of her? " 

" No more," returned Hr. Meaglcs. " I have 
all thiy. She must have gone very early aud very ulently. 
found no Imeu of her, down about us," 

"Stay! You waul," said Clennam, aft«r a i 
'' lo see her? 1 assume that t 

"Ypn, assmvdly; I wont to giys her onother chancv; Vsti 
Prt want to give her another chance; cotup! Ton yonnrlf," 
Kr. Ueagle*, pcrsiiitsivrly, as if the proroeation to be angry mm 
his own lit uU, " want to give the poor puaioiute girl "TiStr <ibH 
Jiutott; Cliitatim,"m 



1 hutitiiig ait 
aendi-TlS 



Ll'ITLE DOlllUT. 2'6[) 

** It woiild be strange and liai-d indeed if I did not/* said Clennani, 
* ' wlien you are all so forgiving. What I was going to ask you was, 

' ^*1 have. I did not think of her until I had pervaded the whole of 
our neighboaiiiood, and I don t know that I should have done so then, 
/but for finding Mother and Pet, when I went home, fall of the idea 
\liat Tattjcoram must have gone to her. Then, of course, I recalled 
'vrhat ahe said that day at dinner when you were first with us." 
** Have you any idea where Miss "Wade is to be found ? " 
** To tell you the truth," returned Mr. Meggies, "it's because I 
liAYe an addled jumble of a notion on that subject, that you found me 
i^raiting here. There is one of those odd impressions in my house 
^vrhich do mysteriouBly get into houses sometimes, which nobody seems 
to have picked up in a distinct form from anybody, and yet which 
everybody seems to have got hold of loosely from somebody and let go 
again, that she lives, or was living, thereabouts." Mr. Meagles handed 
him. a slip of paper, on which was written the name of one of the dull 
bye-streets in the Grosvenor region, near Park Lane. 
** Here is no number," said Arthur, looking over it. 
"No number, my dear Clennam?" returned his friend. "Ko any- 
thing ! The very name of the street may have been floating in the 
wilt for, as I teU you, none of my people can say where they got it 
ftaoL However, it's worth an inquiry ; and as I would rather make 
it m oompany than alone, and as you too were a fellow-traveller of 

tliat immovable woman's, I thought perhaps " Clennam finished 

the sentenoo for him by taking up his hat again, and saying ho was 



It was now summer-time ; a grey, hot, dusty evening. They rode 
to Hie top of Oxford Street, and, there alighting, dived in among the 
grett streets of melancholy statcliness, and the little streets that try to 
he as stately and succeed in being more melancholy, of which there is 
* labyrinth near Park Lane. Wildernesses of comer-houses, with 
hortarous old porticoes and appurtenances ; horrors that came into 
existence under some -wTong-lieaded person in some wrong-headed 
^iniB, still demanding the blind admiration of all ensuing generations 
**ui detcnnined to do so until they tumbled down; frowned upon 
th© twilight. Parasite little tenements with tlie cramp in their 
'•^hole firame, from the dwarf hall-door on the giant model of His 
Orrnoc's in the Square, to the 8(j[ueezed window of the boudoir com- 
'^^aading the dunghills in the Mews, made the evening doleM. 
"R-icketty dwellings of imdoubted fashion, but of a capacity to hold 
Nothing comfortably except a dismal smell, looked like the last result 
^^ the great mansions' breeding in-and-in; and, where their little 
supplementary bows and balconies were supported on thin iron 
^olxunns, seemed to be scrofulously resting upon cnitches. Hero and 
^orc a Hatchment, with the whole science; of Heraldry in it, loomed 
^j^xni upon the street, like an Archbishop discoursing on Vanity. The 
**H>p8, few in number, made no show; for popular opinion was as 
^thing to them. The pastrj^-cook knew who was on his books, and in 
^hat knowledge could be calm, with a few glass cjlinders of dowaiget 
Peppcnnint-drops in his window, and half-a-dozen ancicivt ^.^eiiSxa^xv^ 



240 LnTLB DOBBIT. 

of currant jelly. A few oranges formed the greengrooer's whole con- 
ccssioii to the vulgar mind. A single basket made of moss, omoe 
containing plovers' eggs, held all that the poulterer had to saj to the 
rabble. Everybody in those streets seemed (which is always the case 
at that hour and season) to be eane out to dinner, and nobody seemed 
to be giving the dinners they had gone to. On the door-steps iliere 
were lounging, footmen with bright parti-colored plumage and white 
poUs, like an extinct race of monstrous birds; and butlers, solitary men 
of recluse demeanour, each of whom appeared distrustful of all other 
butlers. The roll of carriages in the Pork was done for tlie day; 
the street lamps were lighting ; and wicked little grooms in the tightest 
fitting garments, with twists in their legs answering to the twists in 
their minds, hung about in pairs, chewing straw and exchanging 
fraudulent secrets, lihe spotted dogs who went out with the carnages, 
and who were so associated with splendid equipages, that it loosed 
like a condescension in those animals to come out without them, 
accompanied helpers to and ho on messages. Here and there was a 
retiring public-house which did not require to be supported on the 
shoulders of the people, and where gentlemen out of Uvcry were not 
much wanted. 

This last discovery was made by the two friends in pursuing flieir 
inquiries. I^othing was there, or anywhere, known of such a persoQ as 
Miss "Wade, in connection with the street they sought. It was one of 
the parasite streets; long, regular, narrow, dull, and gloomy ; like a brick 
tond mortar funeral. They enquired at several little area gates, where a 
dejected youth stood spiking his chin on the summit of a precipitous 
little shoot of wooden steps, but could gain no information. They 
walked up the street on one side of the way, and down it on the other, 
what time two vociferous news-sellers, announcing an extraordinary 
event that had never happened and never would happen, pitched 
their hoarse voices into the secret chambers ; but nothing came of it. 
At length they stood at the comer from which they had begun, and it 
had fallen quite dark, and they were no wiser. 

It happened that in the street they had several times passed a dingy 
house, apparently empty, with bills in the windows, announcing that it 
Avas to let. The bills, as a variety in the funeral procession, almost 
amounted to a decoi^fibn. Perhaps because they kept the house separate 
in his mind, or perhaps because Mr. Meogles and himself had twice 
agreed in passing, " It is clear she don't live there," Clennam now pro- 
posed that they should go back and try that house before finally going 
away. Mr. Meaglcs agreed, and back they went. 

They knocked once, and they rang once, without any response. 
"Empty," said Mr. Mcagles, listening. ** Once more," said Clennam, 
and knocked again. After that knock they heard a movement below, 
and somebody shuffling up towards the door. 

The confined entrance was so dark, that it was impossible to make 
out distinctly what kind of person opened the door ; but it appeared to 
bo an old woman. "Excuse our troubling you," said Clennam. 
"Pray can you tell ua where Miss "Wade lives?" The voice in the 
darkness unexpectedly replied, ** Lives here." 

" Is she at home ? " 



UTTLB BORitrr. 241' 

2^0 answer oommg, Mr. ICeagles asked again. " Tmy, is she at 
home?" 

After another delay, "I suppose she is," said the voice abruptly ; 
** yon had better come in, and Til ask.'' 

Tliey were summarily shut into the close black house; and the figure 
rustling away, and speaking fix>m a higher level, said, *^ Come up .^/^^ 
if you please; you can't tumble over anything." They groped their v^ 
way up stairs towards a Mnt light, which proved to be the light of the 
street shining through a window ; and the figure left them shut up in 
an airless room. 

** This is odd, Clennam," said Mr. Meogles, softly. 
** Odd enough," assented Clennam, in the same tone, " but we have 
succeeded ; that's the main point. Here's a light coming ! " 

Tlie light was a lamp, and the bearer was an old woman : very dirty, 
very wrinkled and dry. " She's at home," she said (and the voice 
was the same that had spoken before) ; ** she'll come directly." Having 
set the lamp down on the table, the old woman dusted her hands on 
her apron, which she might have done for ever without cleaning them, 
looked at the visitors with a dim pair of eyes, and backed out. 

The lady whom they had come to see, if she were the present occu- 
pant of the house, appeared to have taken up her quarters there, as 
Hhe might have established herself in an Eastern cturavanserai. A 
small square of carpet in the middle of the room, a few articles of 
^^^uniture that evidently did not belong to the room, and a disorder of 
trunks and travelling articles, formed the whole of her surroundings. 
^nder some former regular inhabitant, the stifling little apartment had 
^Poken out into a pier-glass and a gilt table ; but the gilding was as 
faded as last year's flowers, and the glass was so clouded that it 
*^^"Pitted to hold in magic preservation all the fogs and bad weather it 
^^ ever reflected. The visitors had had a minute or two to look about 
them, when the door opened and Miss "Wade came in. 

She was exactly the same as when they had parted. Just as hp^* 
f^me, just as scqrnful, just as repressed. She manifested no surprise 
^^ seeing them, nor any other einofion. She requested them to be 
^-ated ; and declining to take a seat herself, at once anticipated any 
^^^ti-oduction of their business. 

** I apprehend," she said, ** that I know the cause of your favoring 
^^^ "vrith this visit. "We may come to it at once." 

** The cause then, ma'am," said Mr. Mcagles, ''is Tattycoram." 
** So I supposed." 

** Miss "Wade," said Mr. Meaj^les, "will you be so kind as to say 
"^'^^ther you know anything of her ? " 
' * Surely. I know she is here with me." 

* ' Then, ma'am," said Mr. Meagles, " allow me to make known to you 
taa.'t I shall be happy to have her back, and that my wife and daughter 
^^X be happy to have her back. She has been with us a long time, 
'^e don't forget her claims upon us, and I hope wo know how to make 
^^'ic>^ances." * 

Ton hope you know how to make allowances ? " she returned, in 
a loxrel, measured voice. " For what ? " 

* * I think my Mend would say, Miss "Wade," Arthur Clennam intet- 



7*" 



V . 

V 



fU2 IfHTLK DOKKIT. 

posed, seoing Mr. Mcagles rather at a loss, '' for tho passionate Bense tJb^zat 
Bometiines comes upon the poor girl, of being at a disadvantage. 'WlrL'^zsh 
occasionally gets the better of better remen^rances." 

The lady broke into a smile, as she turned her eyes upon 
*' Indeed ? " was all she answereid. 

She stood by the table s o perfe ctly com pg^ ffp^^ i\^} ftfti^r 
acknowledgment of his remark, that Mr. Meagles stared at her undi 

*f sort of fSE^dnation, and could not even look to Clennam to m; „„ 

nT another move. After waiting, awkwardly enough, for some momexL't:^ 
Arthur said: 

"Perhaps it would be well if Mr. Meagles could see her, Ml^ 
Wade?" 

'* That is easily done," said she. " Come here, child." She Ikjod 
opened a door while sabring this, and now led the girl in by tlie 
hand. It was very curious to see them standing together : the girl 
with her disengaged fingers plaiting the bosom of her dress, half irre- 
solutely, half passionat^y ; -Jiiss Wade with her composed face attezi- 
tjvely regarding her, and suggesting to an observer with extraordinaij 
fprce, in her composure itself (as a veil will suggest the foim it 
^»vers\ the unquenchable passion of her own nature. 
V ^'See here," she said, in the same level way as before. "Here is 

^'' ^ your patron, your master. He is willing to take you back, my dear, 

V^ if you are sensible of the favor and choose to go. You can be, agai^» 
. \' a foil to his pretty daughter, a slave to her pleasant wilfulness, and a 
tgym the house showing the goodness of the family. You can have 
your droll nam^. again, playftdly pointing you out and setting yoo 
apart, as it is right that you should be pointed out and set apart. 
(Your birth, you know; you must not forgetyour birth.) You caD 
again be shown to this gentleman's daughter /Jm^meD and kept before 
her, as a living reminder of her own superioiifyS^Tner gracious con- 
descension. You can recover all these advantages, and many more of 
the same kind which I dare say start up in your memory while 1 
speak, and which you lose in taking refuge with me — ^you can recover 
them all, by telling these gentlemen how humbled and penitent you a^r^' 
and by going back with them to be forgiven. What do you s^T» 
Harriet? Will you go?" 

The girl who, under the influence of these words, had gradually 
risen in anger and heightened in colour, answered, raising "^^ 
lustrous black eyes for the moment, and clenching her hand upon ^ 
folds it had been puckering up, " I'd die sooner ! " , 

Miss Wade, still stancUng at her side holding her hand, loo^^y 
quietly round and said with a smile, " Gentlemen ! What do yoi*- 
upon that?" 

Poor Mr. Meagles' s inexpressible consternation in hearing his '^^^' 
tives and actions so perverted, had prevented him from interposing ^■^J 
word untU now ; but now he regained the power of speech. 

'* Tattycoram," said he, " for I'U call you by that name still, '^' 
good girl, conscious that I meant nothing but kindness when I j^^^ 
it to you, and conscious that you know it " ^^-aM»lf 

** I don't ! " said she, looking up again, and almost rending he^"^^ 
with the same busy hand. 



f 
Ik 



t 



LITTLB DORRIT. 24?] 

"No, not now, perhaps," said ]\Ir. Meagles, ''not ^\itli that lady's eyes 
•^9 o intent upon you, Tatty coram," she glanced at them for a moment, '' and 
X^liat power oyer you which we see she exorcises ; not now, perhaps, 
l»iit 1^ another time. Tattycoram, I'll not ask that lady whether ihe 
'DeUeves what she has said, even in the anger and ill blood in which I 
jiiirtl mj friend here equally know she has spoken, though she suhducs 
l3.<nelf with a determination that any one who has once seen her is not 
X2-keiy to forget. I'll not ask you, with your remembrance of my house ^'-^ 
~ all bekmgin^ to it, wheth«' you belieye it. I'll only say uiat you a f 
) no profession to make to me or mine, and no forgiveness to^\ 



^x itteat ; and that all in the world that I ask you to do, is, to count 
:fiw8-aiia-tweaiy, Tatiyooram." 

She looked a^ him for an instant, and then said frowningly, *' I 
^^^on't. MiflB Wade, take me away, please." 

The oontention that raged within her had no softening in it now; 

x*^ was wholly between passionate defiance and stubborn defiance. Her 

nch OQloDTy bar quick blood, her rapid breath, were all setting themselves 

a^aiiitt the o^ortanity of retracing her steps. ''I won't. I won't. 

X won't! " ihe repeated in a low, tUok voice. '' I'd be torn to pieces 

Bzirt. rd tear myself to pieces first ! " 

IGn Wadfl^ who had released her hold, laid her hand protectingly 
on the gill's neck for a moment, and then said, looking round with her 
finmer mile^ and speaking exactly in her former tone, '' OentlemenT] 
What do jnm do upon that?" \ 

''Qh| Tattyoonon, Tattycoram!" cried Mr. Meagles, abjuring her" 
Viaidca witb an eaziiest hand. ** Hear that lady's voice, look at that 
lady's ftae, consider what is in that lady's heart, and think what a 
A&ture lies befbire you. My child, whatever you may think, that 
lady's inilnflnce over you — astonishing to us, and I should hardly 
8o too &r in saying terrible to us, to see — ^is founded in passion fiercer 
than youn and temper more violent than yours. What can yt)u two 
^ toffi9ther ? What can come of it ? " 

"I am alone here, gentlemen," observed Miss Wade, with no change 
®^ Toioe or manner. '* Say anything you will." 

** Politeness must yield to this misguided girl, ma'am," said Mr. 
beagles, "at her present pass; though I hope not altogether to 
^J^miss it, even with the injury you do her so strongly before me. 
-Cijcciue me for reminding you in her hearing — I must say it — that you 
^crte a mystery to all of us, and had nothing in common with any of 
^^* when she unfortunately fell in your way. I don't know what you 
**JP» hat you don't hide, can't hide, what a dark spirit you have 
^'^^liin you. If it should happen that you are a woman, who, from 
^"^^Atever cause, has a perverted delight in making a sister-woman as 
^^^^^tched as she is (I am old enough to have heard of such), I warn 
"^^ wdnst jaOp and I warn you against yourself." 

** Gentlemen ! " said Miss Wade, calmly. " When you 
^!^^ ooofilnded — Mr. Olennam, perhaps you will induce your 

'* ITot withoat another effort," said Mr. Meagles, stoutly. " Tatty- 
^^'^^■■f »y poor dear girl, count five-and-twenty." 
" J)lo lut ngeot the hope, the certainty, this kind man oiien^ 1^^>^ 



•\ 




244 LITTLB DOIIBIT. 

said Clennam, in a low emphatic voice. '' Turn to the finends you 
have not forgotten. Think once more ! " 

''I won't! Miss Wade/' said the girl, with her bosom swelliz&g 
high, and speaking with her hand held to her throat, " take iK&e 
away ! " 

'' Tattycoram," said Mr. Meagles. " Once more yet ! The oexHy 
.^ , thing I ask of you in the world, my child ! Count fiye-and-twenty ^ 
•^ She put her hands tightly over her ears, confusedly tumbiA-i^ig 

^ down her bright black hair in the yehemence of the action, and 
i her hjce resolutely to the wall. Miss Wade, who had watched 
j under this final appeal with that strange atten tive sm ile, and 

repjTes&ing hand upon her own bosom, with wGch she had 
I h^ in her struggle at Marseilles, then put hor arm about her waist 
\ if she took possession of her for evermore. 

And there was a visible triumph in her face when she turned it 
dismiss the visitors. 

'' As it is the last time I shall have this honor," she said, " and 
you have spoken of not kn<»wing what I am, and also of the foun 
tion of my influence, here, you may now know that it is founded 
gommon cause. .'What your broken plaything is as to birth, I 
g^e has no name, I have no name. Her wrong is my wrong. I hfl-Jive 
nothing more to say to you." 

This was addressed to Mr. Meagles, who sorrowfully went 
As Clennam followed, she said to him, with the same external 
posure and in the same level voice, but with a smile that is only 
on cruel faces : a very faint smile, lifting the nostnl,' scarcely 1501! 
.the Hps, and not breaking away gradually, but instantiy dismi^flcd 
'when done with : 

" I hope the wife of your dear friend, Mr. Gt)wan, may be happ] 
the contrast of her extraction to this girl's and mine, and in the 
good fortune that awaits her." 





CHAPTER XXVIII. 
nobody's disappearance. 



Not resting satisfied with the endeavours he had made to tea — ^^T? 
his lost charge, Mr. Meagles addressed a letter of remonstrance, bre^^- ■***?' 
ing nothing but goodwill, not only to her, but to Miss Wade too. _*^^ 
answer coming to these episties, or to another written to the stuhl^^^^^ 
girl by the hand of her late young mistress, which might have m^ ^ ^^ 
her if anything could (all three letters were returned weeks af^^^-^JjT 
wards, as having been- refused at the house-door), he deputed 1^^^^ 
Meagles to make the experiment of a personal interview. That wor^-^^^^ 
lady being unable to obtain one, and being stedfastiy denied admissiS^ '^^ 
Mr. Meagles besought Arthur to essay once more what he could ?* 

All that came of his compliance was, his discovery that the em;^— ^^^ 



IJTTLB DOKsrr. S45 

iiouse was left in charge of the old woman, that Miss Wade was gone^ 
that the waifs and strajs of fdmitare were gone, and that the ol( 
^woxnan would accept any nnmber of halfcrowns and thank the donoi 
Undly, hut had no infonnation whatever to exchange for those coins^ 
lieyond constantly offering for perusal a memorandum relative to 
teres, which the house-agenfs young man had left in the hall. 

Unwilling, even under this discomfiture, to resign the ingrate and 
leave her hopeless, in case of her better dispositions obtaining the 
znastery over the darker side of her character, Mr. Meagles, for six 
jBaooessive days, published a discreetly covert advertisement in ihe 
morning papers, to the effect that if a certain young person who had 
lately left home without reflection, would at any time apply at^his 
.address at Twickenham, everything would be as it had been befo^ 
snd no reproaches need be apprehended. The unexpected consequences 
^f this notification, suggested to the dismayed Mr. Meagles for tiie fii 
'time that some hundreds of young persons must be leaving their homes! 
'without reflection, every day ; for, shoals of wrong young people came| 
^0wn to Twickenham, who, not finding themselves received with 
enthusiasm, generally demanded compensation by way of damages, in ^ 
addition to coach-hire there and back. Nor were these the only 
mdnvited dients whom the advertisement produced. The swarm of 
iMgging-letter writers who would seem to be always watching eagerly 
Jar any hook, however small, to hang a letter upon, wrote to say that 
having seen the advertisement, they were induced to apply with confi- 
dence for various sums, ranging from ten shillings to fif^ pounds : not 
heoanse they knew anything about the young person, but because they 
H^ that to part with those donations would greatiy relieve the 
advertiser's mind. Several projectors, likewise, availed themselves 
of the same opportunity to correspond with Mr. Meagles ; as, for 
example, to apprise him that their attention having been called to 
the advertisement by a Mend, they begged to state that if they 
should ever hear anything of the young person, they would not fail 
to make it known to him immediately, and that in the meantime 
if he would oblige them witli the funds necessary for bringing to per- 
fection a certain entirely novel description of Pump, Ihe happiest 
results would ensue to mankind. 

Mr. Meagles and his family, under these combined discouragements, 
had beg^ reluctantiy to give up Tattycoram as irrecoverable, when 
the new and active firm of Doyce and Clennam, in their private 
capacities, went down on a Saturday to stay at the cottage until 
Monday. The senior x>artner took the coach, and the junior partner 
took his walking-stick. 

A tranquil summer sunset shone upon him as he approached the end 
of his walk, and passed through the meadows by the river-side. He 
had that sense of peace, and of being lightened of a weight of 
eare, which country quiet awakens in the breasts of dwellers in 
towns. Everything within his view was lovely and placid. The 
rich foliage of the trees, the luxuriant grass diversified with wild 
flowers, the little green islands in the river, the beds of rushes, the 
water-lilies floating on the surface of the stream, the distant voices in 
boats borne musictuly towards him on the ripple of the water «id tk^ 



t 



246 ' UTTLB DOBBIT. 

ereniiig air, were all expressiye of rest. In the oooasional leap 
of a fish, or dip of an oar, or twittering of a bird not yet at 
roost, or distant barking of a dog, or lowing of a eow — in all 
such sounds, there was the prevailing breath cf rest, which 
seemed to encompass 1dm in every scent that sweetened liie 
fragrant air. The long lines of red and gold in the sky, and the 
glorions track of the descending sun, were all divinely caiHi. Upon 
ihe purple tree-tops hx away, and on the green h^ght near at hand 
up which the shades were slowly creeping, there was an equal hush. 
Between the real landscape and its shadow in the water, thero was no 
division ; both were so untroubled and clear, and, wldle so fta ogh t 
with solemn mystery of life and death, so hopefdlly reassunng 
to the gazer's soothed heart, because so tenderiy and meroifkilly 
beautiful. 

Clennam had stopped, not for the first time by many times, to kx^ 
about him and suffer what he saw to sink into his soul, as the shadows, 
looked at, seemed to sink deeper and deeper into the water. Ha was 
slowly resuming his way, when he saw a figure in the path belbre him 
which he had, perhaps, already associated with the evening and 
Hsimpcefiipons. 

' Viis^i was there, alone. She had some roses in her hand, and 
seemed to have stood still on seeing him, waiting for him. Her tBoK 
was towards him, and she appeared to have been coming from the 
opposite direction. There was a flutter in her manner, whidi dennan 
had^never seen in it before ; and as he came near her, it entered hii 
mind all at once that she was there of a set purpose to speak to him. 

She gave him her hand, and said, ''You wonder to see me here 
by myself? But the evening is so lovely, I have strolled further thai 
I meant at first. I thought it likely I might meet you, and that 
made me more confident. You always come this way, do you not?** 

As Clennam said that it was his favourite way, he felt her hand 
falter on his arm, and saw the roses shake. 

" Will you let me give you one, Mr. Clennam ? I gathered them as 
I came out of the garden. Indeed, I almost gather^ them fbr you, 
thinking it so likely I might meet you. Mr. Doyce arrived more than 
an hour ago, and told us you were waQdug down." 

His own hand shook, as he accepted a rose or two ftxmi hers, an^ 
thanked her. They were now by an avenue of trees. Whether thej 
turned into it on his movement or onlers^ matters little. He nerei 
^ew how that was. 

"It is veiy grave here,'* said Clennam, "but very pleasant a 
this hour. Passing along this deep shade, and out at that areh oi 
light at the other end, we come upon the ferry and the cottage by th( 
best approach, I think.'* 

In her simple garden-hat and her light summer dress, with her ricl 
brown hair natiially clustering aboi^t her, and her wonderfiil eyes 
raised to his for a moment, witi^ a look in which regard for him anc 
trustfulness in him were strikingly blended with a kind of tbniii 
sorrow for him, she was so beautifiil, that it was well for his peace— oi 
ill fbr his peace, he did not quite know which — ^that he had made thai 
vigorous resolution he had so often thought about. 



UTILB DOJK&ir. ^47 

She broke a momentary silence by enquiring if he knew that papa 
had been thinking of another tour abroad? He said he had heard it 
mentioned. She broke another momentary silence by adding, with 
some hesitation, that papa had abandoned the idea. 

At tliiBy h(8 thought directly, *' they are to be married." 

" Hr. Clennam," she said, hesitating more timidly yet, and speaking 
80 low that he bent his head to hear her. ** I should yery much like 
to give you my confidence, if you would not mind haying ihe goodness 
to reoeiye it. I should haye yery much liked to haye giyen it to you 
kng ago, because— I felt that you were becoming so much our friend." 

" ILorw can I be otherwise than proud of it at any time ! Fray giye 
it to me. Pray trust me." 

** I could neyer haye been afraid of trusting you," she returned, 
ndflmg her eyee frimkly to his face. *' I think I i^rould haye done so 
some time ago, if I had known how. But I scarcely know how, eyen 



BOW.'* 



** Mr. Gowan," said Arthur Clennam, '* has reason to be yery 
hmpj. God bless his wife and him ! " 

Sud wept, as she tried to thank him. He reassured her, took her 
hand as it lay with the trembling roses in it on his arm, took the 
xraudning roses from it, and put it to his lips. At that time, it seemed 
to him, he first finally resigned the dying hope that had flickered in 
nobody's heart, so much to its pain and trouble ; and from that time he 
became in his own eyes, as to any similar hope or prospect, a yery much 
older man who had done with that part of life. 

He pat the roses in his breast and they walked on for a little 
while, slowly and silently, under the umbrageous trees. Then ho 
asked her, in a yoice of cheerfrd kindness, was there anything else that 
the would say to him as her friend and her father's friend, many years 
older than herself; was there any trust she would repose in him, any 
■errioe she would ask of him, any little aid to her happiness that she 
coold giye him the lasting gratification of belioying it was in his power 
to re nder? 

f She was going to answer, when she was so touched by some 
ilittle hidden sorrow or sympathy — what could it have been? — 
{that she said, bursting into tears, again: *' 0, Mr. Clennam! Good, 
<^generous. Mr. Clennam, pray tell me you do not blame me." 

" I blame you ? " said Clennam. '*'My dearest girl ! I blame you ? 
No ! " 

After clasping both her hands upon his arm, and looking con- 
fidentially up into his face, with some Jiurried words to the effect that she 
thanked him from her heart (as indeed she did, if it be the source of 
earnestness), she gradually composed herself, with now and then a 
word of encouragement from him, as they walked on slowly and almost 
silently under the darkening trees. 

"And, now, Minnie Gowan," at length, said Clennam, smiling; 
" will you ask me nothing ? " 

" Oh ! I haye yery much to ask of you." 

" Thafs well ! I hoped so ; I am not disappointed." 

" You know how I am loyed at home, and bow I love home. You 
can hardly think it perhaps, dear Mr. Clennam," a\i^ «si^<& ^Sic^ 



K 
> 



UTTLC DOKKtT. 

I^reat agiUtion, "sotUD!; mo going from it of my own free will anJ 

[''Choice, but 1 do go detu'Iy low it '. " 

, "I am sure of that," sHidCkiuiBm. " Can you ■uppOTc I ilo>(I)t itt" 

" fTo, no. lint it is Htrungi', uvl'd to mr, that luring it to much 

and being eo much beloved in it, I con bear to oast it uwsy. It 

•eemB so neglectful of it, so untbiuikful." 

" Uy dear giil," mid Cltunam. " it is in the natural prognes and 
'Change of time. AM homes are left go." 

"Yes, I know; but all homes arc not left with such a blutk 
in them na there will be in mine when 1 nm gono. Not that Umtc 
is any scarcity of fnr better iind more endearing and more accompluheiL 
' ' " ' ..... much; but that th»y hare- na<fe 



, nut that I I 



I 

■ 

I 



verchorged, and «he sobbed irhilt? the 



girls than I 
BO much of me I 

Pet's alTectionate heart w 
pictured whut would happe: 

" I Icuow whut a change papa will feel ut lirgt, and t know that at 
first I cannot be to him anything Uko what I have bec-u thcM nuuty 

fara. And it is then, Mr. Clennam, then more than at any tinw, th^ 
bog and entreat yoti to remember him, and gometi mea to keep latSL. 
ilgQlUpjuiy.when you can spore a little while ; and to t«U bitn.t^iatjmL 
\know I waa fonder of him, when I left him, than I ever was in all my 
pife. For there is nobody — lie tnlil me so himself when he talked I» 
Imc this very day — there is cubudy he likea so well oa you, or tnuta an* 
I much." 

A clue to what had passed between the father and daughter droptwd^ 
like a, hco\-y stone into the well of Clcnmim's heart, and RvraUcd- 
the wat^jr to Ids eyes. He suid, cheerily, but not quite no chtH-ritv »» 
Ite tried to say, that it ghuuld be done; that he gave her bia fitihfal — 
promise. 

" If I do not speak of momma," said Pot, more moved by, anil ■■R' 
pretty in, her innocent grief, than Clennam could trust himself 
now to consider — for which reugon he counted the trees hetwwn ' 
and the fading light as they slowly diminisluid in niunber — 
bccansc mamma will undETstnnd me bettw in this aelioD. and 
feel my loss in a different way, and will look forward in a diSc 
inttnnt'r. But you know what a dear, dcToted mother shif ia, niul 
Trill remember her, too ; will you not?" 

Let Uinnio trust him. Clennam said, lot Vinti" trust him to da 
she wished. 

"And, dear Sir. Clennam," gaid Minnie, " bccavae papa and 
whom I need not name, do not fully appreciate and undcnbotd 
another yet, as they will by-ond-by; and beeause it will ba 
duty, and the pride, and pUiasuro of my new life, to draw tbca 
a better knowledge of one another, anil to be a happincM 
another, and to be proud of one another, and to luvu one 
Imth loving me so dearly; 0, as you are a kind, tn 
when I am first tiej>arated from home (1 am going a long 
away), try.tu ruumcik pupa to him u little mon% ond um^ ji 
influence to keep him bettire pupa'» mind, free fmm pnguduw 
hii real form. Will you do this for me, ua yuu an a nobk"' 




XmXE DOBBTT, 249 

Poor Pet! Self^eceivedy mistaken cliild! When were such 

changes ever made in men's natural relations to one another ; when 

iras such reooncilement of ingrain differences ever effected ! It hag 

been tried many times by other daughters, Minnie; it has never 

succeeded ; notmng has ever come of it but failure. 

So Clennam thought. So he did not say ; it was too late. He bound 
himself tado all she asked, and she knew full well that he would do it. 
They were now at the last tree in the avenue. She stopped, and 
Tvithdiew her arm. Speaking to him with her eyes lifted up to his, 
•and with the hand that had lately rested on his sleeve tremblingly 
touching one of the roses in his breast as an additional appeal to hmiy 
slie said : 

** Dear Mr. Clennam, in my happiness — ^for I am happy, though 
"you have seen me cr3ring — ^I cannot bear to leave any cloud between 
113. If you have anythmg to forgive me (not anytlung that I have 
-iwilfolly done, but any trouble I may have caused you without mean- 
ing it^ or having it in my power to help it), forgive me to-night out 
of jTonr noble heart ! " 

He stooped to meet the guileless face that met his without shrinking. 
IHe kissed it, and answered, Heaven knew that he had nothing to 
forgive. As he stooped to meet the innocent face once again, 
ohe whispered '' Good bye ! " and he repeated it. It was taking leave 
of all his old hopes — all nobody's old restless doubts. They came out 
of the avenue next moment, arm-in-arm as they had entered it ; and 
"the trees seemed to close up behind them in the darkness, like their 
own perspective of the past. 

The voices of Mr. and Mrs. Meagles, and Doyce, were audible 
directly, speaking near the garden gate. Hearing Pet's name among 
them, Clennam called out '' She is here, with me." There was some 
littie wondering and laughing until they came up ; but as soon as 
liiey had aU come together, it ceased, and Pet glided away. 

Mr. Meagles, Do^ce, and Clennam, without speaking, walked up 
«]id down on the bnnk of the river, in the light of the rising moon, 
ibr a few minutes ; and then Doyce lingered behind, and went into the 
lioose. Mr. Meagles and Clennam walked up and down together for a 
iew minutes more without speaking, until at length the former broke 
silence. 

« Arthur," said he, using that familiar address for the first time in 
their communication, '' do you remember my telling you, as we walked 
up and down one hot morning, looking over the harbor at Marseilles, 
that Pet's baby sister who was dead seemed to Mother and me to 
have grown as she had grown, and changed as she had changed ? " 
" Very well." 

'' You remember my saying that our thoughts had never been able 
to separate those twin sisters, and that in our fsmcy whatever Pet was, 
the other was ? " 
" Yes, very well." 

'^ Arthur," said Mr. Meagles, much subdued, ^'I carry that fancy 
further to-night. I feel to-night, my dear fellow, as if you had loved 
my dead child very tenderly, and had lost her when she was like 
what Pet is now." 



250 XJTIUi DOBJUT. 

"Thank you," murmurcjd dennam, '* thank you!" And 
his hand. 

" Will you come in ? " said Mr. Meagles, presGntly. 

" In a Utde while." 

Mr. Meagles fell away, and ho was left alone. When, he had 
on the river's hrink in the peaceful moonlight, for some kalf-an-1 
he put his hand in his breast and tenderly took out the handfiil of 
roses. Perhaps he put them to his heart, peihapa he put them to lixs 
lips, but certainly he bent down on the shore, and gently leunctieci 
them on the flowing river. Pale and unreal in tiie moonlif^ Hic 
liver floated them away. 

The lights were bright witliin doors when he entered, and.Ae fiMse» 
on which they shone, his own face not excepted, were aoon qnietly 
cheerful. They talb^d of many subjects (his partner never had faaS 
such a ready store to draw upon for the beguiling of the tune), and so to 
J bed, and to sleep. While the flowers, pale and unreal m the booD'' 
;S light, floated away upon the river; and thus do greater fhinga Hut ^ 
once were in our breasts, and near our hearts, flow firom ua to tiie ^ 
eternal seas. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

MKS. FUNTWINCH GOES ON DAfiAMIliO. 

The house in the city preserved its heavy dullness thioagh dl tiiese 
transactions, and the invalid within it turned the same umurying 
round of life. Morning, noon, and night, morning, noon, and night, 
each recurring with its accompanying monotony, always the anme 
reluctant return of the some sequences of machinery, like a HwiggSng 
piece of clockwork. 

The wheeled cliair hud its associated remembrances and XOTeries, 
one may suppose, as every place that is made the station of a human 
being has. Pictures of demolished streets and altered houaeSy as tiiey 
formerly were when the occupant of the chair was familiar with them; 
images of people as they too used to be, with little or no allowance 
made for the lapse of time since they were seen ; of these, there must 
have been many in the long routine of gloomy days. To stop the 
clock of busy existence, at the hour when we were personally sequestered 
from it ; to suppose mankind stricken motionless, when we were brought 
to a stand-still ; to be unable to measure the changes beyond our 
view, by any larger standard than the shrunken one of our own 
uniform and contracted existence ; is the inflrmity of many invalids, 
and the mental unhealthiness of almost all recluses. 

What scenes and actors the stem woman most reviewed, aa she 
sat from sciison to season in her one dark room, none knew but 
herself. Mr. Plintwiiich, with his wry presence brought to bear 



LllTLE DOURIT. )251 

upon her daily like some eccentric mechanical force, would perhaps 
have screwed it out of her, if there had heen less resistance in her ; 
but she was too strong for him. So far as Mistress Affery was 
concerned, to regard her liege-lord and her disabled mistress with a 
&ce of blank wonder, to go about the house after dark with her 
apron oTer her head, always to listen for the strange noises and 
aometimes to hear them, and never to emerge from her ghostly, 
dreamy, sleep-waking state, was occupation enough for her. 

There was a fair stroke of business doing, as Mistress Affery made out, 
for her husband had abundant occupation in his little ofiGlce, and saw more 
people than had been used to come there for some years. This might 
easily be, the house having been long deserted ; but he did receive 
icttdrs, and comers, and keep books, and correspond. Moreover, he 
went about to other counting-houses, and to wharves, and docks, and 
to the Custom House, and to Grarraway's Coffee House, and the Jeru- 
salem Coffee House, and on 'Change ; so that he was much in and 
otL't. He began, too, sometimes of an evening, when Mrs. Clennam 
' no particular wish for his society, to resort to a tavern in 
neighbourhood to look at the shipping news and closing prices 
the evening paper, and even to exchange small socialities with 



nx^urcantile Sea Captains who frequented that establishment. Atl 

" on| 



period of every day, he and Mrs. Clennam held a council 
of business; and it appeared to Affery, who was always! 
about, listening and watching, that the two clever ones werel 
^ money. I 

^Fhe state of mind into which Mr. Flintwinch's dazed lady hadi / ' 
had now begun to be so expressed in all her looks and actions, ^^ 
die was held in very low account by the two clever ones, aa^ \ 
never of strong intellect, who was becoming foolish. Perhaps 
her appearance w^as not of a commercial cast, or perhaps 
mse it occurred to him that his having taken her to wife might 
his judgment to doubt in the minds of customers, Mr. Flint- 
laid his commands upon her that she should hold her peace 
the subject of their conjugal relations^ and shoTild no longer call 
1 Jerenuah out of the domestic trio. Her frequent forgetfulness 
tMs admonition intensified her startled manner, since Mr. Flint- 
^ch's habit of avenging himself on her remissness by making 
"^ngs after her on the staircase, and shaking her, occasioned her to 
always nervously uncertain when she might bo thus waylaid 
It. 
I-attle Dorrit had finished a long day's work in Mrs. Clennam's room, 
,^ ^^ was neatly gathering up her shreds and odds and ends before going 
xxckXKie. Mr. Tancks, whom Afferj- had just shown in, was addressing 
enquiry to Mrs. Clennam on the subject of her health, coupled with 
i remark that, "happening to find himself in that direction," ho * 
I looked^ to enquire, on behalf of his proprietor, how she found 
^^irself. jMis. Clennam, with a deep contraction of her brows, was 

^^^ at him. 
rni^'* ^itr. Casby knows," said she, " that I am not subject to changes. 




«e cliaiige that I await here is the great change. 
" Jiideed, ma'am?" retiimed Mr. Piincks, wi 



ith. a ^wv^OTiv^ c^^ 



3S2 UTTU DOSUT. 

to\mtda.t]ic figure of Ihc littlo seBinstreM on hn kocr pickiiig 
threuila and fnijinga of her work from the carpel, "You look niculj, 

" I bear whut 1 have to bear," she answered. " Do )-«u what yvn 
have to do." 

" Thank you, ma'am," said Mr. Fancka; " such i§ my endeavour." 

"You are ofh-ii in this diroctioQ, arc you not?" ask«d U». 
Clennain. 

" Why yox, mu'am," Hoid Pancks, "rather bo latply; I have lately 
beoa round thiii way a good dcul. owing to one thin); and anothur." 
I " Beg Mr, Caaby and lii« danghUT not to trouble themwlvea, by 
deputy, about me. Wlien they wish to eec me, they know I am heK 
to see them. They have iio need to trouble Ibeniselvcs to Kud. You 
hiive no need to trouble youraetf to come." 

" Sot the least trouble, ma'am," said Sir. Panek*. " You r«aUy 
are looking uncomnionly nicely, ma'am." 

" Thank you. Good eyemng." 

The disimijiMil, and it^ nccvmpanying finger pointed stmight at the 
door, was bo curt and direct tliat Mr. Poneks did not ew hia way to 
prolonging hia viiiit. He stirred up hiiii hair witli bis sprightliiMt cxprvn- 
sion, gUnet.'d at the little figure again, said " Good evi-iung, ma un ; 
don't come down, Mrs. Affiry; I know the roud to tlie door," a&d 
attained out. Mr«. Clcnnam, her obin reating on her band. foUow^ 
him with attentive and darkly diatrustful eyc5 ; and Aficry vtood 
looking at her, as if she were sjiell-bound. 

Blowly and thoughtfully, Mrs. Olennam's eyes tur7u.'d trcaa tlic door 
1)T which Pancks bad gone out, to Little Dorrit, rising troni the ti^ipcL 
With ber chin drooping more heavily on her hand, and her eyea vip- 
lant and lowering, the aiek woman aat looking at hor until ahc attnctcd 
h»r attention. Little Dorrit colored under such a guzc, and laob^ 
down. Mrs. Clennam etiil sat intent. 

" Little Dorrit," «lie said wh<ni she at last broke ■iU-nci.-, " what da 
you know of that man ?" 

" I don't know anj-thing of liira, ma'am, except that I haiT tt&t 
him about, and that he has spoken to iiu^." 

" What has be said to you V 

" I don't undetBlnnd what he has said, he is so stmngo. BvJ 
nothing rough or disagreeable." 

■'■ Why doCB he comu htin- to see you?" 

" I don't knon', ma'am," aaid Little Dorrit, with perfect 

" You know that he does eome here to see you?" 

"I have fancied so," wiid Little Dorrit, "But why he 
comu here or anywiiere, fur tliut, ma'nm, I ran't think." 

Mrs. Clennam east ber eyes towards the ground, and with 
strong, set face, as intent upon a subject iu her miwl as it had iBbl' 
be«n upon the fonu that seemed to pass out of her liew, sat absor' 
tfome minntca etnpK^d be/on; ahc came out of this tbonghtAiliMMa, 
n«umed ber bard r<.mpo5urc. 

little Dorril in the meiinwhtle had been waiting to go, but 
to disturb ber by niovinu- She now veuliurd lo h.'arc the mnt 
■fcahd been rtrndiag^nneAe had Abb. Md I 






LITTLB DOJUIIT. 253 

hy ihe wheeled chair. She stopped at its side to say '* Good night, 



am. 




I. Clennam put out her hand, and laid it on her arm. Little 
I>oxiit, confoBed under the touch, stood faltering. Perhaps some 
nLomentary recollection of the story of the Princess may hare heen in 
herwr mind. 

**TelI me, Little Dorrit,*' said Mrs. Clennam. "Have you many 
fn^eatds now ? " 

* * Very few, ma'am. Besides you, only Miss Plora and — one more.'* 
' ' Mecming," said Mrs. Clennam, with her unbent finger again point- 
ing to the door, *' that man ? " 

**Ohno, ma'am!" 

* * Some friend of his, perhaps ? " 

**No, ma'am." Little Dorrit earnestly shook her head. " Oh no ! 
^o one at all like him, or belonging to him." 

^**W^!" said Mrs. Clennam, almost smiling. **It is no affair of 
ittii|g^Jl aak, because I take an interest in you; and because I believe 
(Xjsvas your Mend, when you had no other who could serve you. Is 
th^tsoP" 

**Te8, ma'am ; indeed it is. I have been here many a time when, 
hii."fc for yon and the work you gave me, wo should have wanted 

•e," repeated Mrs. Clennam, looking towards the watch, once 
dead husband's, which always lay upon her table. '* Arc there 
Jtt«iiy of y ou ? " 

**Qnly father and I, now. I mean, only father and I to keep 
^Siilarly out of what we get." 

* • Have you imdergone many privations ? You and your father, and 
vlxo else there may be of you?" asked Mrs. Clennam, speaking 
^^Ixherately, and meditatively turning the watch over and over. 

* * Sometimes it has been rather hard to Hve," said Little Dorrit, in 
J*^^ soft voice, and timid uncomplaining way ; " but I think not 
^^**^er — as to that — ^than many people find it." 

* * That's well said ! " Mrs. Clennam quickly returned. '* That's the 
""^^tt ! You are a good, thoughtful girl. You are a grateful girl too, 
^^ t much mistake you." 

* * It is only natural to be that. There is no merit in being that," 
*^id Little Dorrit. " I am indeed." 

^Irs. Clennam, with a gentleness of which the dreaming Affery had 
^^^«r dreamed her to be capable, drew down tlie face of her little 
^^^^^Histress, and kissed her on the forehead. 
•^ **Now go, Little Dorrit," said she, ** or you will be late, poor 
^ixiXd ! " 

v^ -tn all the dreams Mistress Affery had been piling up since she first 
P^^^jome devoted to the pursuit, she had dreamed nothing more aston- 
^S^ing than this. Her head ached with the idea that she would 
^^^<l the other clever one kissing Little Dorrit next, and then 
k^2^ two clover ones embracing each otlier and dissolving into 
*^* •» of tenderness for all mankind. The idea quite stunned her, as she 
Glided the light footsteps down the stairs, that the house-door mi^lit 
safely thut. 



254 



UTTLB DOBBTT. 



leSB 

do, 
t be 



on 
ind 



to 



On opening it to let Little Doirit out, she found Mr. Pancks, i 
of haying gone his way, as in any loss wonderful place and 
wondcrfiil phenomena he might have been reasonably expected 
fluttering up and down the court outside the house. The mom< 
saw Little Dorrit, he passed her briskly, said with his finger 
nose (as Mistress Affery distinctly heard), " Pancks tihe g^^p^Ji 
fortunc-tclliDg," and went away. '' Lord save us, here's a_ ^ag ipsy 
and a fortune-teller in it now ! " cried Mistress Affery, " 
next!" 

She stood at the open door, staggering herself viih this 
a rainy, thundcrj- evening. The clouds were flying fSasty the 
was coming up in gusts, banging some neighbouring shatters that^ had 
broken loose, twirling the rusty chimney-cowls and weathercocks^., and 
rushing round and round a confined adjacent churchyard as if it l:flB-&d a 
mind to blow the dead citizens out of tLeir graves. The low thuK:=3der, 
muttering in all quarters of the sky at once, seemed to thit-s-fiten 
vengeance for this attempted desecration, and to mutter, ** Let fcs-lfim 
rest ! Let them rest !'* 

Mistress Affery, whose fear of thunder and lightning was only tiP* ^ 
equalled by her dread of the haunted house with a prematme ^^ 
preternatural darkness in it, stood undecided whether to go in <ff ^ooU 
until the question was settled for her by the door blowing 
her in a violent gust of ^-ind and shutting her out. " What 
be done now, what's to be done now ! " cried Mistress Affery, 
ing her hands in this last uneasy dream of all; ''when she*s allaJ-^?^^ 
by herself inside, and can no more come down to open it than *** 
churchyard dead themselves I" 

In this dilemma, Mistress Affery, with her apron as a hood to 
the rain off, ran crjing up and down the solitary paved 
several times. "Why she should then stoop do\ni and look in at ^^^ 

keyhole of the door, as if an eye would open it, it would be difficuL'^,-^^ 
say ; but it is none the less what most people would have done in "*" 
same situation, and it is what she did. 

From this posture she started up suddenly, with a half 
feeling something on her shoulder. It was the touch of a hand ; 
a man's hand. 

The man was dressed like a traveller, in a foraging cap with 
about it, and a heap of cloak. He looked like a foreigner. He hi 
quantity of hair and moustache — jet black, except at the shaggy en 
where it had a tinge of red — and a liigh hook nose. He laughed 
Mistress Affery's start and cry ; and, as he laughed, his 
went up under his nose, and his nose came down over his mous: 

''What's the matter?" he asked in phiin English. "What 
3'ou frightened at ? " 

" At you," panted Affery. 

"Me, madam?" 

" And the dismal evening, and — and everything," said Aff( 
"And here ! The wind has been and blown the door to, and I 
get in." 

" Hah ! " said the gentleman, who took that veiy coolly. *'Ind< 
Do you know such a name as Clennam about here r " 



:re 



«f 





UTELB DOSBIT. 255 

«'Lord bless us, I should think I did, I should think I did ! " cried 
A^-fiEery, exasperated into a new wringing of hands by the enquiry. 
*'Where about hero?" 

*' Where ! " cried Affery, goaded into another inspection of the key- 
hioHe. '' Where but here in this house ? And she's all alone in 
her* room, and lost the use of her limbs and can*t stir to help herself or 
;, and the t'other clever one's out, and Lord forgive me ! " cried 
, driven into a frantic dance by these acctimulated considerations, 
Lf I ain't a-going headlong out of my mind ! " 
Taking a warmer view of the matter now that it concerned himself, 
gentleman stepped back to glance at the house, and his eyes soon 
rest^ on the long narrow window of the little room near llie hall-i 



t€ 



* * Where may the lady be who has lost the use of her limbs, madam ? " 
ho enquired, with that p eculiar s mile which Mistress Afiery could not 
<5lio€Be but keep her eyes upon. ' 

* * Up there ! " said Affery. " Them two windows." 

*' Hah ! I am of a fair* size, but could not have the honor of pre* 
renting myself in that room without a ladder. Now, madam, frankly 

-fiBsknesB is a part of my character — shall I open the door for 

5-01X?" 

^* Yes, bless you, sir, for a dear creetur, and do it at once," cried 
r, " for she may be a calling to me at this very present minute, 

may be setting herself a fire and burning herself to death, or there's 
^o knowing what may be happening to her, and me a-going out of my 
xnind at thinking of it ! " 

^* Stay, my good madam ! " He restrained her impatience with a 
®*>iooth white hand. " Business-hours, I apprehend, are over for the 

•* Yes, yes, yes," cried Affery. " Long ago." 

"Let me niake, then, a fair proposal. Fairness is a part of my 
^^aracter. I am just landed from the packet-boat, as you may see." 
-«^e showed her thkt his cloak was very wet, and that his boots were 
^^tuiated with water; she had previously observed that he was 
^^filievelled and sallow, as if from a rough voyage, and so chilled that 
^^ could not keep his teeth from chattering. "I am just landed 
^^ua the packet-boat, madam, and have been delayed by the weather ; 
^^e infernal weather ! In consequence of this, madam, some neces- 
^^'^ business that I should otherwise have transacted here within 
*^^ r^^ular hours (necessary business because money-business), stUl 



5"^^*^aiiis to be done. Now, if you will fetch any authorised neigh- 
^^^Uiing somebody to do it, in return for my opening the door, I'll 

^I^^xi the door. If this arrangement should be objectionable, I'll " 

^^*^d with the same smile he made a significant feint of backing away. 
^^^ ^tistress Afferv, heartily glad to effect the proposed compromise, 
g^'^e in her wiUing adhesion to it. The gentleman at once requested 
^^ to do him the favor of holding his cloak, took a short run at the 
v^'^i^ow window, made a leap at the sill, clung his way up the 
^o^^ and in a moment had his hand at the sash, raising it. His j 
^j^^^ looked so very sinister, as he put his leg into the room andj 
^^^ced round at Mistress Affery, that she thought, with. ^ wjAAaxir 



4 

i 



jeolilneM, if Ue were to go straight up staira to murder the IimBda, .«■ 
jivhat could she do to prevent him ? " 

Happily he had no such puqwBo ; for he re-appeared, in a mo— — 
ment, at the hotiBe-door. "Now, my dew madam," he said, as he ^ 
took back his cloak and threw it on, " if jou'U have the gi>odue6s ' 
to what the Devil's that ! " J 

The atraneest of aounda. Eridcntly close ot hand from the iw^iiU^r " 
^ock it communicated to the air, yet subdued aa if it were far aff. A ' 

'4remble, a rumble, and a fall of some light dry matter. 
^ " What the Devil is it ? " 

- '* I don't know what it is, but I've heard the like cf it over ami 
over again," eaid Affcry, who had caught his arm. 

He could hardly In.' a vary bruve man, even ehe thought in her drtamy 
Htart irad fright, fur his trembling lips had turned eolorlees. A1\it 
listening a few moments, he made light of it. , 

j " Bah ! Nothing ! Now, my dear madam, 1 think you spoke of aonc 
Iclfirer personage. Will you be so good as to eunfroot mo with that 
[genius?" He held tlie door in his hand, us though he were (joite 
'ready to shut her out again if she failed. 

" Don't you soy anything about the door and me, then," wHspcreil 
Affery. 

" Not a word." 

" And don't you stir from here, or speak if she calls, whito I na 
round the comer." 

" Madam, t nm a statue." 

AiTery hod so vivid a fear of his going steoltliily up Btain the do- 
menthcT back was turned, that, after hurrying out of sight, she Pttnnied 
to the gateway to peep at him. Seeing him still on the thrci^hold, 
more out of the house than in it, as if he hud no lore for darkncvv 
and no dc^re to probe its mysteries, ehe Itew into the ntxt street, 
and sent a message into the tavern to Mr. Flintwinch who cbhht 
out directly. The two returning together — the lady in advance, and 
Hr. Flintwinch coming up briskly behind, animated with the bujw 
of shaking her before she could get housed — saw the gentleman 
styiding in the same place in the dark, and heard the strong voic* of 
/ffis. Clenuani lalllus from her room, " Who is it ? Whul is it ? Why 
IdotM no one aniwer? Who is that, down there?" 




^ 



■* 

• 



LI'ITLE DOHEIT. 257 



CHAPTER XXX. 

THE WOKD OP A GENTLEMAN. 

'When Mr. and Mrs. nintwinch panted up to the door of the old 
house in the twilight, Jeremiah within a second of Affery, the stranger 
started hack. " Deatii of my soul ! *' he exclaimed. " Why, how did 
you get here?" 

Mr. Flintwinch, to whom these words were spoken, repaid the 
stranger's wonder in fall. He gazed at him with hlank astonishment ; 
he looked oyer his own shoulder, as expecting to see some one he had 
&ot been aware of standing hehind him; he gazed at the stranger 
^S<^, speechlesaly at a loss to know what he meant ; he looked to 
^^ "Wife for explanation ; receiving none, he pounced upon her, and 
shook her with such heartiness that he shook her cap off her head, 
■^ying between his teeth, with grim raillery, as he did it, " Affery, 
Diy •^oBuOif you must have a dose, my woman ! This is some of your 
^[jcka ! You have been dreaming again, mistress. What's it about ? 
^p^o ia it ? What does it mean ? Speak out or be choked ! It's 
^© only choice I'll give you." 

Sxtpposiiig Mistress Affery to have any power of election at the 
'"^^Baent, her choice was decidedly to be choked ; for she answered not . 
f^yBaUe to this adjuration, but, with her bare head wagging violently 
^^^kwards and forwards, resigned herself to her punishment. The 
^^^''^Hger, however, picking up her cap with an air of gallantry, inter- 



** Permit me," said he, laying his hand on the shoulder of Jeremiah, 
^*^o stopped, and released his victim. "Thank you. Excuse me. 
-^lusband and wife I know, from this playfulness. Haha ! Always 
^^S^'eeable to see that relation playfully maintained. Listen ! May I 
^S^est that somebody up-stairs, in the dark, is becoming energetically 
^"^^ous to know what is going on here ? " 

This reference to Mrs. Clennam's voice reminded Mr. Flintwinch to 
^*^p into the hall and call up the staircase. " It's all right, I am 
^^iXi, Affery is coming with your light." Then he said to the latter 
^^^tered woman, who was putting her cap on, ** Get out with you, 
f'^^ get up-stairs ! " and then turned to the stranger, and said to him, 
"^ow, sir, what might you please to want ? " 

** I am afraid," said the stranger, *' I must be so troublesome as to 
^^'^pose a candle." 

** True," assented Jeremiah. **I was going to do so. Please to 
^^^d where you are, while I get one." 
. ^ The visitor was standing in the doorway, but turned a little into 

. gloom of the house as Mr. Flintwdnch turned, and pursued him 

^r^th his eyes into the little room, where he groped about for a phos- 

I^'^ox-ug box. When# he found it, it was damp, or otherwise out of 

^^er ; and match after match that he struck into it lighted sufficiently 



958 un 

io tfiroT a dull glare about his groping face, and to rorinklo lu« 
with palo littlo epota of fire, but not sufficiently to light the c 
The Btronger, talcmg advantage of thia fitful illumination of 
vUage, looked intently and wonderingly at him. Jeremiah, yt^^ 
he at last lighted the candle, knew he had bccti duiug Mii-.^ 
seeing the last shade of a lowering wnttlifiilnens oloar away from 
face, as it broko into the dejibtful ^milc that waa a largu iugredieik 1 
its expression. 

"Be so good," said Jeremiah, closing the boaap door, and 
pretty diaqi survey of the amiliug vieilor in hi* torn, " ot to 9t*p 
on uounting'hoiiKC. — It's all right, I toll yon ! " petulantly bmt' 
off to answor llie Toice up-Btairs, sdll uneatipfii-cl, though Afllsy 
then, apeaking in poreua«ivo tones, ■' Don't 1 tell you it's all ' 
Preearrc the woman, has eho no ronaoB at all 

" Timorous," remorkod the straager. 

"Timorous?" said Mr. Flintwineh, tumiog his hcwd to 
he wont before with the candle. " If ore eaurageou» thou 
in a hundred, sir, let me tell you." 

"Though un invalid?" 

"Uany years tm invalid. Mrs. Clennam. The only oofl of 
nanw left in the House now. My partner." 

Saying eumetliing apologetieal^ aa he (ironed t\ic hull. In thn effi 
that at that time of night they were not in the habit ul' n.'cuh'tng ' 
one, and were iilwnys shut up, Mr. Flintwint-h kd the tray iuto 1 
own office, whieh prosenled a sufficiently bn»>De«»-Uke njiptw^H 
Uoro he pot the light on hie deak, and said to the •tranger, witb I 
wryeat twiat upon him, " Your eommandiB," 
f " My oune is tdand oia.'l 

"filandoia, l don't"Enow it," said JoRmiah. 

" I thought it possible," resumed the other, " that you might hJ 
UiUB ndvitrd Irora Paris " 

"We have had nu advice fi-om Paris, rejecting anyhiMiy of 1 
name of Blandois," uoid Jeremiah. 

"No?" 

"Ko." 

Jeremiah stood iii hia favourite tUtituile. The smiling Mr. 
(^niag hie clonk to get his hancl tii a breast pDcket, pnnied to 0^, 
with a Iftttgh in his glittering ey«B, which itoocunrd "" — "— 
winch were too near togt^thcr : 

" You ure so like a friend of mine ! Not *o idtnitiuttUjr the • 
aa I auppowd wheu I reoUy did fur the momuul take ynu tn he 
same in the duak — for which I uugbt to aiiolagisc ; pcraiil u« !■> 
so ; n roadineas ta couGess my isrors ia. I hope, n part «r ' 
pf mr chnmctcr — still, however, uncommonly like." 

"InioedT" anid Ji-reuiali, pencrwly, "But I hare wit n«d 
any letter of adWee thim onyivherc, retpectiiig anybody of iha m 
of Blaad«ia." 

"Just so," said the straoffcr. 

" Jtul m." raid JercmiAh. 

Mr. Jilandoii', nut at all put out by Ihii omtsncn on ttut pvt «f 
utntfauiat* <C Hm towxtftdannam and Co, Imk hi* poobrt-k 



firom his bieast pocket, selected a letter from tiiat reoeptade, and 
handed il to Mr. Elintwinch. '^^o doubt you are well acquaiBted 
with the writmg. Perliaps the letter speaks fbr itself, and requires no 
adrice. You are a far more compet^t judge of sach affiurs than I 
azn. It is my miafortane to be, not €k> much a man of business, aa 
wliat the world calls (arbitrarily) a gen^jgpMUi." 

Mr. Flintwinch took the letter, aoSTd read, imder date of Paris, 
** 'We have to present to you, on b^ialf of a highly-eateemed oor^ 
respondent of our Firm, M. Blandois, of this city," &c. &o. " Such 
facilities as he may require and such attentions as may lie in your 
power," &c. &c. **"Also have to add that if you will honor M. Blandois' 
oralts at sight to the extent of, say Fifb^ Foonds staling (£50)," &c. &c. 

** Yery good, sir," said Mr. Flintwinch. ** Take a chair. To the 
extent of anything that our house can do— we are in a retired, old- 
&AiQned, steady way of business, sir — we shall be happy to render 
ycnoL our best ossistanoe. I observe, from the date of this, that we 
could not yet be advised of it. Probably you came over with the 
delayed mail that brings tiie advioe." 

•*That I came over with the delayed mail, sir," returned Mr 
Blandois, passing his white hand down his high-hooked nose, ''I 
^XLow to the cost of my head and stomach : the detestable and intolerable 
'^^^^eather having racked them both. You see me in the plight in 
''^iiioh I came out of the Packet within this half hour. I ought to 
^«ve been here hours ago, and then I should not have to apologise — 
Permit me to apologise— for presenting myself so unseasonably, and 
wghtening — ^no, by-the-by, you said not frightening ; permit me to 
■pologise again — ^the esteemed lady, Mrs. Clennam, in her invalid 
^^^^ftmber above stairs." 

S wagger , and an air of authorised oondescendon, do so much, that 

Sf. JfUntwinch had already begun to think das a highly gentlemanly 
H^^Bpnage. Not the less unyielding witii him on that account, he 
?^^ped his chin and said, what could he have the honor of doing for 
****. Blandois to-night, out of business hours ? 
^ *' Faith ! " returned that gentleman, shrugging his cloaked shoulders, 

I most change, and eat and drink, and be lodged somewhere. Have 
^e kindness to advise me, a total stranger, where, and money is a 
Jitter of perfect indifference, until to-morrow. The nearer the place, 
''^^^ better. Next door, if that's all." 

^ ICr. Flintwinch was slowly beginning, " For a gentleman of your 
^jbits, there is not in this immediate neighbourhood any hotel — ** when 
"^^i^- Blandois took him up. 
^ ** So much for my habits ! my dear sir," snapping his fingers. 

A citizen of the world has no habits. That I am, in my poor 

^^^y, a gentleman, by Heaven ! I will not deny, but I have no 

^iiaccommodating^rejudiced habits. A clean room, a hot dish for 

^imer, and a botxTe of not absolutely poisonous wine, are all I want 

knight. But I want that much, without the trouble of going one 

'^Unnecessary inch to get it." 

" There is," said Mr. Flintwinch, with more than his usual 
deliberation, as he met, for a moment, Mr. Blandois' shining eyes, 
>hich wa:e restless; 'Uhere is a coffee-house and tavern close 



here, which, bo far, I can rfcommend ; but ticic'» no it^ 
ubout it." 

"I dinpense with style!" said Mr. Blandots, waving hla ba^E3 
"Do me the honor to ehow me the house, and introducu mi- ih.^ 
(if I tun not too troublesomo), and I shall be infinitely ubli^;ed." 

Mr. Flintwinch, upon this, looked up his liat, and iightod Kd 
Blondois ncroM the bull again. As he put the candle on a braclc^ 
who's the dark old pimnelOng almost ecrvcd as an cxtiiigtiiehrr lor 
be Iwtbuught himself of going up to tell the invalid that hu would vs 
be absent five minutes. 

'' Oblige me," said the riKitor, on his saj'ing so, v ^y presentinK V* 
cord of visit. Do mo tbe favor to add, that I shall be happy ta icM 
on Mw. Clennam, to offer mypersonal compliments, anil to npnlogiup f- 
having occasioned any agitation in this tranquil comer, if it abovxl 
suit her convenience to endure the presence of a etrongiu for a £^' 
minuteB, after he shall have chun^ his wet clothes and fortified bJm— *> 
with eomething to eat and drink." 

Jeremiah made all dinpatcb, and said, on his return, '' Bho'U bo ffl*' 
to Bee you, sir; but, being conscious that her sick room has no tS irm t C 
tioQs, wiehee me to say that ahc won't hold you to your oStt, in c" 
yOM should think better of it." 

" To think better of it," returned the gallant Bbmdois, " would l*" 
to alight a lady ; to alight a lady would be to be deficient in cfaival^ 
towards the sex; and chivalry towards the sex is u part of my cb* 
ractcr ! " Thus expressing himself, he threw the drugglcd skirt «" 
Iiis doak over )us shoulder, and aecompanied Mr. Flintwinch to tlK' 
tuvcni ; taking up on the road a porter, who was waiting with las 
portmanteau on the outer side of the gateway. 

The house was kept in a homely manner, and the eondeaceiMua * 
Ur. Sl&ndois vas infinite. It seemed to fill to inconycnienoe 'tfei 
little bar, in which the widow landlady and her two daiightim inwivA 
him ; it was much too big for the narrow wainscoati-d room witl* 
bagatelle-board in it, that was first proposed for bis recLi>tiun ; it p>V 
foctly swamped tlie little private holiday sitting-room uf tbe faiat^J 
vhidi was fionUy given up to him. Here, in diy clothes and 9ou»Ve 
linen, with sleeked hair, a great ring oa each forp-fingiT, nnii a ma^n^ 
iibow of waleb-choin, Mr. Blunilois waiting for his dinner. IiiUing of* . 
winduw-seat with liis knees drawn uji. looked [tor all tlii' ihtfitvnc*" * 
the aeltbig of the jewel;, fearfully and wonderftUly lit.' u cirt»*" 
Uonsieur lligaud who had once so wailed for his breakliut, lyiu^ "^ 
the stone ledge of the iron grating of a cell ia a rillanous dODgeova '■ 
lUr»cilh», 

His gn<e<t at dinner, too, was closely in ke<-ping with thr ^ rr<d 
Mondtimu- Kignud at breakfast. His avariciou!) mannir rl' " -- 
the eatables about him, and devouring »ume with ) i 
devouring others with his jaws, was the same mannfr. 
n^urd of other people, as shown in bis way of toKfingihi : 
toy* of furniliiri' about, Hinging favorile cushions uiipji i U\~ r, 
for a siiftiT n->t, anil eniihing ih'licute cjiveringa with hi« lii^ tioilv 
his great black head, had Uie muiih hrulc stdfiahntwi at the Iwtltn 
Oh The MlUy morJiig handa that were ao biny amaag tKe iIMmj 



:., *ii 



LITTLE DO&RIT. 261 

iSie old wicked facility of the hands that had clang to the hars. And 
'^hen he could eat no more, and sat sucking his delicate fingers one by 
oiie and wiping them on a cloth, there wanted nothing but the sub- 
stitation of vine-leaves to finish the picture. 

On this man, with his moustache going up and his nose coming 
down in that most evil of smiles, and with his surface eyes looking as 
if they belonged to his dyed hair, and had had their natural power of 
r^fiectang light stopped by some similar process, B^ature, always true, 
and never working in vain, had set the mark, Beware j It was not 
her &ult, if the warning were fruitless. She is never to blame in 
any such instance. 

Mr. Blondois, having finished his repast and cleaned his fingers, 
took a cigar fix)m his pocket, and, lying on the window-seat again, 
smoked it out at his leisure, occasionally apostrophising the smoke as 
it parted from his thin lips in a thin stream : 

*' ^landois, you shall turn. the tables on* society, my little child. 
Haha ! Holy blue, you have begun well, Blandois ! At a pinch, an ex- 
cellent master in English or French ; a man for the bosom of families ! i 
You have a quick perception, you have humor, you have ease, you 5JP 
^ve insinuating manners, you have a g<fcd appearance ; in eflfect, you . ^* 
■I'B a g^itleman ! A gentleman you shall live, my small boy, and a ^^^ 
S^ntleman you shall die. You shall win, however the game goes. ^ 
They shall all confess your merit, Blandois. ^ You shall subdue the 
L JSg^e ty^ which has grievously wronged you, to your own high spirit. 
^^Ih of my soul. You are high-spirited by right and by nature, 
Bay Blandois ! " 

To such soothing murmurs did this gentleman smoke out his cigar 
J^d drink out his bottle of wine. Both being finished, he shook • 
™i3tt8elf into a sitting attitude; and with the concluding soribus 
apostrophe, '* Hold, then ! Blandois, you ingenious one, have all 
your wits about you ! " arose and went back to the house of Clennam 
•»»dCo. 

^^tte was received at the door by Mistress Affery, who, under instructions 

^''oni. her lord, had lighted up two candles in the hall and a third on the 

fttaircase, and who conducted him to Mrs. Clennam' s room. Tea was 

P'^eiMffed there, and such little company arrangements had been made as 

JJ*UaUy attended the reception of expected visitors. They were slight on 

J^^ greatest occasion, never extending beyond the production of the 

^^*^Uia tea-service, and the covering of the bed with a sober and sad 

^**^I>ery. For the rest, there was the bier-like sofa with the block 

^>oii it, and the figure in the widow's dress, as if attired for execution; 

^**^e fire topped by the mound of damped ashes ; the grate with its 

*^^iid little mound of ashes ; the kettle, and the smeU of black dye ; 

^^ OS they had been for fifteen years. 

Idj. Flintwinch presented the gentleman commended to the conside- 
ration of Clennam and Co. Mrs. Clennam, who had the letter lying 
j^feie her, bent her head and requested him to sit. They looked very 
- -9*«fy at one another. That was but natural curiosity. 

*• I thank you, sir, for thinking of a disabled woman like me. Few 
^bo come here on business have any remembrance to bestow on one so 
^^^oved from observation. It would be idle to expect that they 6h»\dd 



S0S Exrruc sobstt. 

have. Dot of Mgtit, out of mind, ^lien I am gnilvfnl fur thr eau 
tiott, I dun't complain of the rule." 

Ur. BliuidoLs, in lii» most geatlcmanly mannec. wiu afraid he 
disturhwi her hy iiiihap]>i]y preseating Uimsilf at aucb an udmhim 
able time. For which he hud alrvadj offcrod hin beat apolo^^ 
Mr. he iK'^ed pardon — but by aame had not ibc diBdiigiuih 

■' Mr. Flintwinch has been connocted with the Uonn' mnny yttOK 

Mr. BhuidoiR WIU Mr. Fllntwinch's most obcdicnl liiiralile eumi 
He Liitrctited Mr. Fliutwinch to receiTc the assurance of liis prolbuadl 
oonaidoration. 

"H}' husband being dead," aaid Mrs. Clennam, "and tnj 
pioferring another pureuit, our old Kou»e has no other rpproarsUtt 
in thew days than M>. FUntwinch." 

" What do you call yoursvlf?" voa the early demfrnd of that gtali 
roan. " You have tlic head of two men." 

" My Bex diwjnalifiM me," she procifeded witli merely a iMgiil tn 
of hor eyes in Jeremiah's direction, " Irom taldng n TwqjoDfliUe part 
tfao buaiuMs, even if I had the ability ; and tbervforo Mr. Fliotirin 
combinM my interestewith hie own, and conducts tt. It i* notwh 
naed to be ; but Boine of our old (nenda (principally the wntcm ef 
lettea') ha^-e the kindness not to forget uh, and ve reUiia the nvwtT' 
dmng what they entrust to as ae cfHciuitly H« ne ever did. "oia kof 
crer is not interesting to you. You are Knglinh, sir V 

"Faith, madam, no; I am neitberhorn nor bred in England, Indl 
1 am of no country," said Mr. Blandois, Btrctching out his log 
smiting it: " I descend from half h doKen countriw." 

" Yon have been mnch abont the world ?" 

" It i» true. £y Hca^xn, nutdom, I have been htirc and then 
overpjf here ! ' ' 

" You have no ties, probably. Are not married?" 

" Mudam," noid Mr. Blandois, with nn ugly fall of bis pyvbrom^ "* 
adore your se-i:, but I am not married — oe¥er wa»." 

MistresB Affeiy, who stood at the table near him, ponruig oOl 
tea, happened iu her dreamy state lo look at hira aa he «aid tb 
words, and to fimry that she caught un cxpreftuon in his im* lA 

factidho-owneyeaeothatshccouldnotgel themnw»y. TbecdN 
fancy wan, to hipp her staring at him with- the teapot in Juf hi 
on^ to her own groat uneasinew, but manifestly to hi*, too; * 
<ngh them twth, to Mrs. Clennimi'e nnd Mr. Fiintwinch's. Ihi 
&w ghostly roomFinte supervDDcd, when they were all iMmfuM-dlf (tai 
irithoiU knowing why. 

"Afl'ery," her raiAtreas was the fint to say, "wluit utbpnal 
1 witli you?" 
j;^ . "I don't know." wud UistresB AfFerr, with her diaengiged 
^^ ^and eKtemI(>d towordH the viaitiir. " It ain't me. It'* him!" 
k " What doe« tliin good woman mean ?" crt<xl Mr. BlanilDi*, 

^> white, hfit, and slowly riung with n look of sut h dentil ywnUh ll 
[ «oolrn*t*d surprisingly with tiio tJight forw of hi» w-onU. " H( 
I ft poasihli- til unrleratand this good creature 1" 

" '" ...—..■. • himadf M 



LXXILB DORRTC 26IB 

in that direction. " She don't know what she means. Bhe's an idiot, 
a wanderer in her misid. She shall have a dose, she shall ha^re snch a 
dose! Get along with you, my woman," he added in her ear, "get 
along with you, while you know you're AflGery, and hefoue you're 
shaken to yeast." 

Mistress AiEery, sensihle of the danger in which her identity steod, 
relinquished the teapot as her husbamd seized it, put her apron over 
her head, and in a twinkling Tanished. The visitor gradudly hroke 
into a smile, and sat down again. 

" You'll cxpuse her, Mr. Blondois," «aid Jeremiah, pounng out the 
tea himself; " she's failing and breaking up ; that's what she's about. 
I>o you take sugar, sir ?" 

** Thank you ; no tea for me. — Pardon my obserring it, but that's a 
Tery remarkable watch ! " 

The teartable was drawn up near the sofa, with a small interval 
between it and Mrs. Clemiam's own particular table. Mr. Blandois in 
his gallantry had risen to hand that lady her tea (her dish of toaat was 
alifiady there), and it was in placing the cup conveniently within her 
reach that the watch, lying before her as it always did, attracted his 
attention. Mrs. Clennam looked suddenly up at him. 

<< May I be pennitted ? Thank you. A fine old-fEishioned wai»h," 
he said, taking it in his hand. " Heavy for use, but massive and 
gennine. I have a partiality for everything genuine. Such as I am, 
I api genuine myself. Hah ! A gentleman's watch with two cases in 
the old fashion. May I remove it from the outer case ? Thomk you. 
Aye ? An old silk watch-lining, worked with beads ! I have often 
seen these among old Dutch people and Belgians. Quaint things !" 

*' They are old-fashioned too," said Mrs. Clennam. 

** Very. But this is not as old as the watch, I think?" 

"I think not." 

''Extraordinary how they used to complicate these C3^hers!" 
remarked Mr. Blandois, glancing up with his own smile again. 
" Now, is this D. N. F. ? It might be almost anything." 
" " Those are the letters." 

Mr. Flintwinch, who had been observantly pausing all this time 
with a cup of tea in his hand, and his moutji open ready to swallow 
the contents, began to do so : always entirely fillmg his mouth before 
he emptied it at a gulp ; and always deliberating again before he 
xiefiUed it. 

'' D. K. E. was some tender k>vely fascinating fair-creatoze, I make 
no doubt," observed Mir. Blandois, as he snapped on the case again. 
** I adore her memory on the assumption. Unfortunately for my peace 
of mind, I adore but too readily. It may be a vice, it may be a virtue, 
but adoration of female beauty and merit constitutes three patts of 

in^jjharactfiT, madam." 

Mr. EHntwinoh had by this time poused himself out another cup of 
tea, which he was swallowing in gulps as before, with his eyes duoected 
to the invalid. 

"You mav be heart-£ree here, sir," she returned to Mr. 
Slandois. " Those letters are not intended, I believe, for the initials 
<if any name." 




264 UTTLB DORKIT. 

'' Of a motto perhaps," said Mr. Blandois, casually. 

*' Of a sentence. They have always stood, I believe, for Bo N'ot 
Forget!" 

''And naturally," said Mr. Blandois, replacing the watch, azid 
stepping backward to his former chair, '* you do not forget.** 

Mi. Flintwinch, finishing his tea, not only took a longer gulp ^mj^kr 
he had taken yet, but made his succeeding pause under new cucu^cai- 
stances : that is to say, with his head thrown back and his cap b>. -tP 
held at his lips, while his eyes were stiU directed at the invalid. ^Ii^ 
had that force of face, and that concentrated air of collecting her firr^cn* 
ness or obstinacy, which represented in her case what would hoB^ve 
been gesture and action in another, as she replied with her deliber^^Bto 
strength of speech : 

** !No, sir, I do not forget. To lead a life as monotonous as mm^-J^^ 
has been during many years, is not the way to forget. To lead a Luafe 
of self-correction, is not the way to forget. To be sensible of havL-:^g 
(as we aU have, every one of us, aU the children of Adam !) oflBanc— s<J8 
to expiate and peace to make, does not justify the desire to £>rg>^^3t 
Therefore I have long dismissed it, and I nei^er forget nor wish t» 
forget." 

Mr. Flintwinch, who had latterly been shaking the sediment at 
bottom of his tea-cup, round and round, here gulped it down, \ 
putting the cup in the tea-tray, as done with, turned hia eyes u; 
Mr. Blandois, as if to ask him what he thought of that ? 

*< All expressed, madam," said Mr. Blandois, with his smootfa^^s^ 
bow and his white hand on his breast, "by the word 'naturall 
which I am proud to have had sufficient apprehension and 
preciation (but without appreciation I could not be Blandois) 
employ." 

"Pardon me, sir," she returned, " if I doubt the likelihood o£— ^ * 
gentleman of pleasure, and change, and politeness, accustomed to coi 
and to be courted — " 

" Oh madam ! By Heaven ! " 

" — If I doubt the likelihood of such a character, quite coi 
prehending what belongs to mine in my circumstances. Not 
obtrude doctrine upon you," she looked at the rigid pile of hard 
books before her, " (for you go your own way, and the consequen 
are on your own head), I will say this much : that I shape my coi 
by pilots, strictly by proved and tried pilots, under whom I cannot 
shipwrecked— can not be — and that if I were immindful of the adiuJ^^^l 
nition conveyed in those three letters, I should not be half as chasten^K— "^^ 
>> ., ^~ as I am." 

\ '.J It was curious how she seized the occasion to argue with sot*^*P* 

invisible opponent. Perhaps with her own better sense, always tumi — ^^^S 
upon herself and her own deception. ,- 

" If I forgot my ignorances in my life of health and freedom,^ -'• 
might complain of the life to which I am now condemned. I nt^ ^^^ 
do ; I never have done. K I forgot that this scene, the Earth, }* 

expressly meant to be a scene of gloom, and hardship; and dark 
for the creatures who are made out of its dust, I might have soi 
tenderness for its vanities. But I have no such tenderness. If I 








LITTLE DOIUIIT. 265 

not know that we are, every one, the subject (most justly the subject) 
of a wrath that must be satisfied, and against which mere actions are . 
nothing, I might repine at the difference between mc,Jmprisoned here, 
and the people who pass that gateway yonder. But i i^e it as a 
grace and &yor to be elected to make the satisfaction I am making 
iiere, to know what I know for certain here, and to work out what I 
liAve worked out here. My affliction might otherwise have had no 
zELeaning to me. Hence I would forget, and I do forget, nothing. 
.^E«noe I am contented, and say it is better with me than with 
lUions." 
As she spoke these words, she put her hand upon the watch, and 
itored it to the precise spot on her little table which it always 
ipied. With her touch Imgering upon it, she sat for some moments « 
~ , looking at it steadily and half-defiantly. 
lljr. Blandois, during this exposition, had been strictly attentive, 
cping his eyes &stened on the lady, and thoughtfcdly stroking his 
ioustache with his two hands. Mr. Flintwinch had been a- little 
&<l|petty, and now struck in. 

** There, there, there ! " said he. ** That is quite understood, Mrs. 
Clennam, and you have spoken piously and well. Mr. Blandois, I 
vnapect, is not of a pious cast." 

'' On the contnu^, sir ! '* that gentleman protested, snapping his 
ftngers. " Your pardon ! It's a part of my character. I am sensitive, 
ardent, conscientious, and imaginative. A sensitive, ardent, con- 
scientious, and imaginative man, Mr. Flintwinoh, must be that, or 
nothing!" 

There was an inkling of suspicion in Mr. Flintwinch^s face that he 
nilght be nothing, as he swaggered out of his chair (it was charac- 
teristic of this man, as it is of all men similarly marked, that whatever 
1^ did, he ftvfrdiH. though it were sometimes by only a hair's-breadth), 
ftnd approached to take his leave of Mrs. Clennam. 

•'With what will appear to you the egotism of a sick old woman, 
■W," she then said, " though really through your accidental allusion, 
I liave been led away into the subject of myself and my infirmities. 
Being so considerate as to visit me, I hope you will be likewise so 
®^*iBiderate as to overlook that. Don*t compliment me, if you 
P^J3«8e." For he was evidentiy going to do it. ** Mr. Flintwinch 
^^iU be happy to render you any service, and I hope your stay in this 
^"^ may prove agreeable." 

^^ Mi, Blandois thanked her, and kissed his hand several times. 
Ilns is an old room," he remarked, with a sudden sprightiincss of 
^'^^imer, looking round when he got near the door. ** I have been 
^ interested that I have not observed it. But it's a genuine old 



•«^^. 




^J^^r to take me through the rooms on my way out, he could hardly 
,rplSge me more. An old house is a weakness with me. I have many 



^^^^.^MMM^^^A, but none greater. I love and study the picturesque, in all 
^^ 'Varietiea. I have been called picturesque myself. It ia nom!mV.\tt 





266 hOTLB DOBAD. 

be piotoresque — ^I have greater meritay perhaps — but I mxy be, by 
accident. Sympathy, Bympathy!'' 

" I tell you beforehand, Mr. Bkaidoia, that you'll find it 
dingy, and very bare/' said Jeremiah, taking up the candle. *' 1^ ^"i 
not worth your looking at." But Mr. Bkuidois, fgniting him in ^^ > 
friendly manner on the back, only laoghed; bo ihe sud BlnndiiiB ^' 
kissed his hand again to Mrs. Cleotmam, and they went out of 
room together. 

*^ You don't care to go up-stairs?" said Jeremiah, on the landing. 

" On the contrary, Mr. Flintwinch ; if not tiresome to you, I 
be rayished ! " 

Mr. Flintwinch, therefore, wormed himself up the staixcaae, 
Mr. Blandois followed close. They ascended to ike great ganat bed— 
room, which Arthur had occupied on the night of his return. '' Tharee. 
Mr. Blandois!" said Jercmi^, showing it, ''I hope you may 
that worth coming so high, to see. I conf^s I don't." 

Mr. Blandois being enraptured, they walked throu^ other 
passages, and came down the staircase again. By this 
I Mr. Flintwinch had remarked that he never found the visitor h 
at any room, after throwing one quick glance around, but alwa] 
jbun d the visitor looking at him, Mr. Flintwinch. With this 

tin his thoughts, he turned about on the staircase for Ai^nfliAr ^-gpArinnflni 
He nigtlui^.^cycs direcUy; and on the instant of their fixing 
. another, the visitor, wi£n that ugly play of nose and moustadiep, 
\ I laughed (as he had done at every similar moment since they Ififfcr^ 
[ Mrs. Clennam's chamber) a diabolically silent laugh. 

As a much shorter man than the visitor, Mr. Flintwinch was at the^^ 
physical disadvantage of being thus disagreeably leered at from a.- 
height ; and as he went first down the staircase, and was usually i^ 
step or two Lower than the other, this disadvantage was at the iun^- 
increased. He postponed looking at Mr. Blandois again until thi9 
accidental inequality was removed by their having entered the lat^ 
Mr. Clennam's room. But, then twisting himsdf suddenly round, 
upon him, he found his look unchanged. 

''A most admirable old house," smiled Mr. Blandois. ''So mys- 
terious. Do you never hear any haunted noises here ?" 

" Noises," returned Mr. Flintwinch. " No." 

" Nor see any devils ? " 

'*Not," said Mr. Flintwinch, grimly screwing himself at his 
questioner, '' not any that introduce themselves under that name and. 
in that capacit}'." 

** Haha ! A portrait here, I see." 

(Still looking at Mr. Flintwinch, as if he were the portrait.) 

**It*s a portrait, sir, as you observe." 

"May I ask the subject, Mr. Flintwinch?" 

** Mr. Clennam, deceased. Her husband." 

''Former owner of the remarkable watch, perhaps?" said the 
visitor. 

Mr. Flintwinch, who had cast his eyes towards the portrait, twisted 
himself about again, and again found himself the subject of the 
same look and smile. " Yes, Mr. Blandois," he replied tartly. " It 



UTILE DOKBII. 267 

m hifl, and his uncle's before him, and Lord knows whose he&ae him ; 

d that's all I can 'tell you of its pedigree.'' 

" That's a strongly marked character, Mr. Flintwinch, our Mend 

''Yes, sir," said Jeremiah, twisting himself at the visitor again, as 
did duzing the whole of this didoguo, like some screw-machine 
fell short of its grip; for the other never changed, and he always 
fic^llflhliged to .retreat a Uttle. ** She is a remarkable woman. Great 
fc^:xtitude — great strength of mind." 

"They must have been very happy," said Elandois. 
"Who?" demanded Mr. Flintwinch, with another scr/ew at him. 
3Ir. Blandois shook his right forefinger towards the sick-room, and 
left forefinger towards the portrait, and then putting his arms a- 
and striding his legs wide apart, stood smiling down 
ICr. Flintwinch with the advancing nose and the retreating 
nxoustache. 

" Ab happy as most other married people, I suppose," returned Mr. 
^lantwinch. ** I can't say. I don't know. There are secrets in all 

fiF>TlriliflB." 

"Secrets!" cried Mr. Blandois, quickly. '^Say it again, my 
soxi." 
^ *'I say," replied Mr. Flintwinch, upon whom he had swelled 
~~ Dself so suddenly that Mr. Flintwinch found his face almost brushed 
the dilated chest. ** I say there are secrets in &11 families." 
** So there are," cried the other, clapping him on both shoulders, 
lolling him backwards and forwards. '^Hoha! you are right. 
there are ! Secrets ? Holy Blue ! There are the devil's own secrets 
some fiEunilies, Mr. Flintwinch ! " With that, after clapping Mr. 
l^Zutwinoh on both shoulders several times, as i^ in a friendly and 
iLZXimxons way, ho were rallying him on a joke he hod made, he 
tbx^ew up his arms, threw baok his head, hooked his hands together 
fc^limri it, and burst into a roar of laughter. It was in vain for Mr. 
^^Xutwinch to try another screw at him. He had his laugh out. .f « 

"But, fiivor me with the candle a moment," he said, when he had ' 
^■*xie. " Let us have a look at the husband of the remarkable lady. '| 
HIafch!" holding up the light at arm's length. *' A decided expression I 
^ ^tte here too, Uiough not of the same character. Looks as if he [ 
^^^E»e saying — ^what is it — ^Do Kot Forget — does he not, Mr. Flintwinch? 
^y Heaven, sir, he does^ " 

-^B he returned him the candle, he looked at him once more ; and 

™^^, leisurely strolling out with him into the hall, declared it to be a 

^^Tming old house indeed, and one which had so greatly pleased 

"^^>i, that he would not have missed inspecting it for a hundred 

porunda. 

throughout these singular freedoms on the port of Mr. Blandois, 
^hich involved a general alteration in his demeanour, making it much 
?^^i'Her and rougher, much more >dolent and audacious, than before, 
^^' Hintwinch, whose leathern face was not liable to many changes, 
^^^erved its immobility intact. Beyond now appearing, perhaps, to 
^^^ beesQ left hanging a trifle too long before that friendly operation 
cutting down, he outwardly maintained an equable ^m^^^Msox^. 



268 LIITLB DOBBir. 

They had brought their survey to a close in the liUle.ioam at llie sidifl 
of the hall, and he stood there, eyeing Mr. Blandms. 

'' I am glad you are so well satisfied, sir," was his calm remax^k^ 
" I didn't expect it. You seem to be quite in good spirits." 

**In admirable spirits,** returned Blandois. "Word of honosr ! 
never more refireshed in spirits. Do you ever have presentimi 
Mr. Flintwinch ? " 

" I am not sure that I know what you mean by the term, 
replied that gentleman. 

'' Say in this case, Mr. Flintwinch, undefined anticipations oi 
pleasure to come." ^ ^ 

** I can't say I am sensible of such a sensation at preaen.'i^' 
returned Mr. Flintwinch, with the utmost gravity. " If I ahottW 
find it coming on, I'll mention it." 

** Now I," said Blandois, ** I, my son, have a presentiment to-ni^l»* 
that we shall be well acquainted. Do you find it coming on ? " 

"N — no," returned Mr. Flintwinch, deliberately enquiring of 
^himself. " I can't say I do." 
^p^ "I have a strong presentiment that we shall become intimat^^y 
^ /< acquainted. — You have no feeling of that sort yet? " 
^ '* Not yet," said Mr. Flintwinch. 

Mr. Blandois, taking him by both shoulders again, rolled him abai»^ 
a little in his former merry way, then drew his arm through his owu^ 
and invited him to come off and drink a bottle of wine like a dear 
deep old dog as he was. 

Without a moment's indecision, Mr. Flintwinch accepted the in- 
vitation, and they went out to the quarters where the traveller was 
lodged, through a heavy rain which had rattled on the windows, roofe, 
and pavements, ever since nightfall. The thimder and lightning had 
long ago passed over, but the rain was furious. On their arrival in 
Mr. Blandois' room, a bottle of port wine was ordered by that gaUant 
gentleman ; who (crushing every pretty thing he could collect, in the 
soft disposition of his dainty figure) coiled himself upon the window- 
seat, while Mr. Flintwinch took a chair opposite to him, with the 
table between them. Mr. Blandois proposed having the largest 
glasses in the house, to which Mr. Flintwinch assented. The 
bumpers filled, Mr. Blandois, witti a roystering gaiety, dinked 
the top of his glass against the bottom of Mr. Flintwinch' s, and the 
bottom of his glass against the top of Mr. Flintwinch' s, and drank to 
the intimate acquaintance he foresaw. Mr. Flintwinch gravely 
pledged him, and drank all the wine he could get, and said nothing. 
As often as Mr. Blandois clinked glasses (which was at every 
replenishment), Mr. Flintwinch stolidly did his part of the clink- 
ing, and would have stolidly done his companion's part of the wine 
as well as his own : being, except in the article of palate, a mere 
cask. 

^'In short, Mr. Blandois found that to pour port wine into the 
reticent Flintwinch was, not to open him but to shut him up. 
Moreover, he had the appearance of a perfect ability to go on idl 
night; or, if occasion were, all next day, and all next night; 
whereas Mr. Blandois soon grew indistinctly conscious of swag- 



LTTTLE DOREIT. 269 

too fiercely and boastfollj. He therefore terminated the 
iertainment at the end of the third bottle. 

"You will draw upon us to-morrow, sir? " said Mr. Plintwinchy 
ih a business-like face at parting. 
My Cabbage," returned the other, taking him by the collar with 
hands. ** VU draw upon you ; have no fear. Adieu, my Flints 
eh. Beceive at parting;" here he gave him a southern embrace,! 
^ kissed him soundingly on both checks ; ** the word of a gentle-' 
! By a thousand Thunders, you shall sco me again ! " 
e did not present himself next day, though the letter of advice 
duly to hand. Enquiring after him at night, Mr. Elintwinch 
fo-^ajid, with surprise, that he had paid his bill and gone back to Mp^ 
tla.^ Continent by way of Calais. NeverthelesB, Jeremiah scraped out W 
oiP Ids cogitating face a lively conviction that Mr. Blandois would keep 
^ ^ word on this occasion, and would be seen again. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

SPIRIT. 

-Aktbodt may pass, any day, in the thronged thoroughfares of 

&e metropolis, some meagre, wnnkled, yellow old man (who might 

^ supposed to have dropped from the stars, if there were any star 

1^ the Heavens duU enough to be suspected of casting off so feeble a 

■p*i"k), creeping along with a scared air, as though bewildered and a 

httle frightened by the noise and bustle. This old man is always a little 

old man. If he were ever a big old man, ho has shrunk into a little 

jW. man ; if he were always a little old man, he has dwindled into u 

^^•« old man. His coat is of a color, and cut, that never was the mode 

f^'^y^irhere, at any period. Clearly, it was not made for him, or for any 

^^▼idual mortal. Some wholesale contractor measured Eate for five 

toonaand coats of such quality, and Fate has lent this old coat to this old 

'"J*^!., as one of a long imfinished line of many old men. It has 

Jj^'ays large didl metal buttons, similar to no other buttons. This 

*^^inan wears a hat, a thumbed and napless and yet an obdurate hat, 

^i<sh has never adapted itself to the shape of his poor head. 

^^ coarse shirt and his coarse neckcloth have no more indiWduality 

^^**l. his coat and hat ; they have the same character of not being his 

'""^f not being anybody's. Yet this old man wears these clothes with 

• ^^rtain unaccustomed air of being dressed and elaborated for the 

^!*olic wayiB ; as though he passed the greater part of his time in a 

^^hfccap and gown. And so, like the country mouse in the second 

/r*i' of a famine, come to see the town-mouse, and timidly threading 

^/-^ 'Way to the town-mouse's lodging thi-ough a city of cats, this old 

^^ passes in the streets. 

.Sometimes, on holidays towards evening, he will be seen to walk 
^H a dightly increased infirmity, and his old eyes will glimm^T V\'Oev 







270 LTTTUI DMXIT. 

a mokt and marshy light Then the Ktde old man is dnmk. A 
small measure will overset him ; he may be bowled off his 
leg^ witii a half-pint pot. Some pitying acqnamtani 
acquaintance very often — has warmed up his weaknese with a treit 
beer, and the consequence will be the lapse of a longer time 
usual before he shall pass again. For, the little old man is going 
to the Workhouse ; and on his good behaviour they do not let him 
often (though methinks they might, considering the few years he 
before him to go out in, under the sun) ; and on his bad behavioK^ur 
they shut him up closer than ever, in a grove of two score and aiiL 
teen more old men, every one of whom smells of all the others. 

jidjrs. Flomish's father, — a poor little reedy piping'old gentleman, 
a worndg jit bird ; who had been in what he called the musie"hiniHrw g 
business/and met with great misfortunes, and who had seldom bt^3^ 
able to make his way, or to see it or to pay it, or to do anytfaing 
all with it but find it no thoroughfare, — ^had retired of his own 
to the "Workhouse which was appointed by law to be the 
Samaritan of his district (without the two pence, which was 
political economy), on the settlement of that execution which 
carried Mr. Plomish to the Marshalsea College. Previous to his 
in-law' s difficulties coming to that head, Old Xandy (he was always 
caUed in his legal Ketreat, but he was Old Mr. Nandy among . 
Bleeding Hearts) had sat in a comer of the Plomish fireside, i_ 
taken his bite and sup out of the Plomish cupboard. He still hope^^ 
to resume that domestic position, when Fortune should smile upon fiS--^ 
son-in-law; in the meantime, while she preserved an immoreabl ~ 
countenance, he wns, and resolved to remain, one of these little ol 
men in a grove of little old men with a community of flavour. 

But, no poverty in him, and no coat on him that never was 
mode, and no Old Men's "VTard for his dwelling-place, could queue' 
his daughter's admiration. Mrs. Plomish was as proud of her father' 
talents as she could possibly have been if the}' had made him 
Chancellor. She had as firm a belief in the sweetness and propriety 
of his manners as she could possibly have had if he had been Lord 
Chamberlain. The poor little old man knew some pale and vapid 
little songs, long out of date, about Chloe, and Phyllis, and Strephon 
being wounded by the son of Venus ; and for Mrs. Plomish there was 
no such music at the Opera, as the small internal fluttcrings and 
chirpings wherein he woidd discharge himself of these dittiw, like a 
weak, little, broken barrel-organ, ground by a baby. On his " days 
out," those flecks of light in his flat vista of pollard old men, it was tt 
once Mrs. Plomish's delight and sorrow, when he was strong wifli 
meat, and had taken his full halfpenny- worth of porter, to say, ** Sing 
us a song. Father." Then would he give them Chloe, and, if ho were 
in pretty good spirit*^, Phyllis also — Strephon he had hardly been tro 
to, since he went into retirement — and then would Mrs. PlomiMi 
declare she did believe there never was such a singer as Father, and 
wipe her eyes. 

If he had come from Court on these occasions, nay, if he had beej 
the noble Befrigerator come home triumphantly from a foreign couj 
to be presented and promoted on his last tremendous failure, Mi 



LIITLB i>ORBrr. 271 

• 

Plflfiiiah conld not hare handed him inth greater elevation ahout ^ 

Bleeding Heart YanL " Here's Father," she would say, presenting x^ '^ 
to a neif^bLbour. '' Fa&er Trill soon be home with us for good,-^ ^ 
Ain't Father looking well? Father's, a sweeter singer than^^ ^ , 
you'd never have forgotten it, if you had aheard him just now." - ' > -^ -, 
to Mr. Ploinish, he had married these articles of bolief in marrying < ") 
:. Nandy's daughter, and only wondered how it was that so gifted 
old gentleman had not made a fortune. This he attributed, after 
iivcich reflection, to his musical genius not haring boon scientifically 
cLe'veloped' in his youth. " For why," argued Mr. Plonrish, *' why go 
a l3inding music when you've got it in yourself? That's where it is, 
r ooBsider." 

Old Nandy had a patron : one- patron. He had a patron who, in a 

siimptnous way — on apologetic way, as if he constantly took an 

auidience to witness that he really could not help boing more 

with this old fellow than they might have expected, on account of 

his simplicity and poverty — ^was mightily good to him. Old Nandy 

luid be^ sev^nral times to the Marshsdsca College, communicatiDg with 

bis son-in-law during his short durance there; and had happily 

aoq[iiized to himself, and had by degrees and in course of time much 

Lprored, tiie patronage of the Father of that national institution. 

Sfr. Donit was in the habit of receiving this old man, as if the old 

held of him in vassalage under some feudal tenure. He made 

Httle tpeats and teas for him, as if he came in \rith his homage &om 

some outlying district where the tenantry were in a primitive state. 

It seemed as if there were moments when he could by no means have 

>WQni but that the old man was an ancient retainer of his, who had 

been meritoriously fiiithful. When he mentioned him, he spoke of 

hiis casually as his old pensioner. He had a wonderful satisfaction in 

■eeing him, and in commenting on his dccaywl condition after he was 

9oiiie. It appeared to him amazing that he could hold up his head at 

•U, poor creature. " In the "Workhouse, sir, the Union : no privacy, 

^w> visitors, no station, no respect, no speciality. Most deplorable ! " 

It was old Nandy's birthday, and they let him out. He said 
nottiiiig about its being his birthday, or they might have kept him in ; 
*0T such old men should not be bom. He passed along the streets as 
^^•Oal to Bleeding Heart Yard, and had his dinner with his daughter 
*^d son-in-law, and gave them Phyllis. He had hardly concluded, \ 
^l*«n Little Dorrit looked in to see how they all were. 
J •«Mis8 Dorrit," said Mr«. Plomish. ** Here's Father! Ain't he 
■*<H>kxng nice ? And such voice he's in ! " 

, . IdtUe Dorrit gave him her hand, and smilingly said she had not seen 
^*U this long time. 

** Xo, they're rather hard on poor Father," said Mrs. Plomish, with 
?3^ligthcning face, ** and don't let him have lialf as much change and 
5^^ air as would benefit him. But he'll soon be home for good, now. 
*^oti'tyou, Fatlier?" 

** Yes, my dear, I hope so. In good time, please God." 
^x ,^ere Mr. Plomish ddivered himself of an oration which he invari- 
^J^*^ made, word for word the same, on all such opportunities. It was 
^ched in the following terms : 



•» 



UTTtS DOMIT. 



"Jolm Edward Nandy. Sir. While there's 
drink of any sort in thu present roof, you're fUlly v 
■hare on it. While there's a handiVil of fire or a mouthftil of 1 
this present roof, you're fully welcome to your shore on it. If ac 
there should be nothing in this present roof, you shcjuld bv as wi 
to your shore on it as if it was Bomething much or little. And 
what I mean and bo I don't deceive you, and conscqueDtly whtc 
fltand out is to entreat of you, and therefore why not do it t" 

To this lueid address, which Mr. Flomish always delivered aa 
liad composed it (as no doubt he hnd) with enomioiis labor, Hn. 
nish's father pipingly implied : 

" I thank you kindly. Thomas, and I know your iut«ntioiia 
which is the same I thank you kindly for. But no, Thomas, Unti 
times as it's not lo take it out of your children's moutha, whJc 
it is, and call it by what name you wUI it do remain and e 
deprive thou{;h may they come and too soon they can not can 
Thomas, no!" 

Mrs. Plomish, who had been turning her face a littht nwny ^ 
comer of her apron in her hand, brought herself back to thv o 
Nation again, by telling Miss Dorrit that Father was going ovi 
watiT to pay his respects, unless she knew of any reoaon why it 
not be agreeable. 

Her answer was, " I am going straight home, and if he inD 
with me I shall be so glad to take care of him — so glad," said 
Dorrit, always thoughtful of the feelings of the weak, "i 
company." 

" There, Father !" cried Mrs. Plomish. " Ain't you a gay 
man to he going for a walk along with Hiss Dorrit '. Let mo til 
neck-handkerchief into a regular good bow, for you're a rtigaJai 
yourself. Father, if ever there was one." 

With this filial joke his daughter smartened liim up, and 
him a loving hug, and stood at the door with her weak child i 
arms and her stronp: cliild tumbling down the steps, looking aft 
little old father aa he toddled away with his arm under LJWoUc 

They walked at a slow pace, and Little Dorrit look liim by thi 
Bridge and sat him down there for a rcsl, and they looked orer 
wat«r and talked about the shipping, and the old man nientioned 
lie would do if be hod a ship full of gold coming home to him (hi 
was to take a noble lodging for the Plomjshes and himself at 
(lurdrns, and live there all the rest of their lives, atlendnl on I 
waiter), and it was a special birthday for th« old man. 
were within five minutes of their destination, when, at tho con 
her own street, they came upon Fanny in her new bonnet ban 
the snme port. 

" Why, good gracious me, Amy !" cried that young lady tb 
" You iiuTtr moon it !" 

"Mean what, Fanny dear?" 

" Well ! I could hove believed a great deal of you," rvtttnic 
rouDg lady with burning indignation, " but 1 don't think <^Tun I 
have b«'heved this, of e' 



'•Jfaaaji" cried Little Dorrit, moBdad ■ 



miMuimii 





UTIUB I>0&EIT. 278 

''Oh ! Don't Fanny me, you mean little thing, don't! The idea f 
coming along the open streets, in the broad Ught of day, with a \ 
.ttaper!" (firing off the last word as if it were a ball from an 
-gun.) 

"0 Fanny!" 

" I tell you not to Fanny me, for I'll not submit to it ! I never 
3ew such a thing. The way in which you are resolved and deter- 
Tned to disgrace us, on all occasions, is reaUy infamous. You bad 
tie thing!" 

"Does it disgrace anybody," said Little Dorrit, very gently, "to 
:e care of this poor old man ? " 

"Yes, miss," returned her sister, " and you ought to know it does. 

you do know it doe^. And you do it because you know it does. 

principal pleasure of your life is to remind your family of their 

y^ ^» rfortunes. And the next great pleasure of your existence is to keep 

company. But, however, if you have no sense of decency, I 

Te. You'll please to allow me to go on the other side of the way, 

onolested." 

_ "With this, she bounced across to the opposite pavement. The old 
^-■j^igrace, who had been deferentially bowing a pace or two off (for 
I^^'^Ue I>orrit had let his arm go in her wonder, when Fanny began), 
^^^*^-<i who had been hustled and cursed by impatient passengers for 
s^^^ping the way, rejoined his companion, rather giddy, and said, 
'* ^3t hope nothing's wrong with your honored father. Miss ? I hope 
sre's nothing the matter in the honored family ? " 
**No, no," returned Little Dorrit. "No, thank you. Give me 
mnr arm again, Mr. Nandy. Wc shall soon be there now." 
2So, she talked to him as she had talked before, and they came to 
^ Lodge and found Mr. Chivery on the lock, and went in. !N'ow, 
itr Jiappencd that the Father of the Marshalsea was saimtering towards 
ttx<^ Lodge at the moment when they were coming out of it, entering 
ttj^cs Prison arm in arm. As the spectacle of their approach met 
hi» view, he displayed the utmost agitation and despondency of 
>*-ixad ; and — ^altogether regardless of old Nandy, who, m^ing his re- 
yex-cnce, stood with his hat in his hand, as he always did in that 
ff^'^^'Cious presence — turned about, and hurried in at his own doorway 
and up the staircase. 

I-eaving the old unfortunate, whom in an evil hour she had taken 

^cler her protection, with a hurried promise to return to him directly, 

little Dorrit hastened after her father, and, on the staircase, foimd 

xanny following her, and flouncing up with offended dignity. The 

Jhree came into the room almost together ; and the Father sat down in 

^13 chair, buried his face in his hands, and uttered a groan. 

*^ Of course," said Fanny. "Very proper. Poor, afflicted Pa! 
^^^> 1 hope you believe me. Miss ! " 

♦. TT ^^^^ ^ ^^» father ? " cried Little Dorrit, bending over him. 
ilave I made you unhappy, father ? Not I, I hope ! " 
** ^ou hope, indeed ! I dare say ! Oh, you " — Fanny paused for a 
rj^^'iently strong expression — ** you Common-minded little Amy ! 
^ ^'omplete prison-child ! " 
"^^ stopped these angry reproaches with a wave of liia heccLd, «sA 



/ 
\ 



sobbad out, ninng liia face, and shaking lii* meUncboly head Bt hii « 
younger daughter, ' ' Aiqt. I know that you an innooeDt in intraticn- —'a 
But jiMi have put me to'^e wtul." 

"Innocent in intention! " the implacable Fanny struck in. "BtnlT^ 
in intention ! Low in intention ! lowering of tile fiunllj: b i 
intra tion ! " 

"Tatherl" oried LitOe Dorrit, pale mid tmuhUoR, "T am TBiy ' 
•wry. Pray forgire jue. lyj roe how it is, that I may not do il - 

' ' How it if", you ppwaricating little piew of gooda ! " criod FknitT. 
" You know liow it is. I have (ohl yim pdiwidy, eo don't fly in VU » 
focv of Providrncc by attumjiting to deny it I " 

"Htrth! Ann." said the flUhtr, puBWng hii potkrt-h 
uliief Bereml titaeti acroie his f&iv, and thtti grntping it eonvnlNvely in j 
the hand that droppefl aero* his knee, " I have cSonp what 1 rould (o - 
kicp y>u select here; I have done what I miitil to retain yoo a . 
poatisD htiro. I may hare sueeecded ; I may not. Too raajr Knew ' 
it ; j-ou may nut. I give no ojiinion. I havi.' <aidim'd ernythJBg ' 
here but Uumiliati<ai. ITiat I hare haifpily been spared — luiti] this - 
-lay," 

Jforo hie oonvulriw grasp tinciosed itself, and he pul hi" porkH- 
handkerchief to hit eyes oguin. T.ittle Dorrit, on the Bmujid hr^Ue 
him, with h(ir imploring hand npon his arm, '<rnt«hi-d him imane- 
filUy. Coming nut of his-lit of grief, hu i^lt-nebcd hin pockal-tumd- 
kerchief once more. 

" Hmuiliatkm I have happily been spared until this dar. "nimigh 
all my traubhw there has bnn thai — Spirit in nivwlf. and that -thrt 
nibmiMion to it, if I may «»e the term, in thnur nhmit mt, irinch 
haa «)iur(vt mf>— bn — humiliation. But thi» dny, this minnte, I htm 
keenly fidt it." 

"Of oouree! How eoold it be othenrit*!" eselaimtd Uw bn- 
ilo Ifanny. " Cankering and prancing about with a Pftuptfl" 
naguin). 

it( dear father." cried Little Dorrit, " T don't Juirtifjr Riywlf br~ 
Wflundc*! yonr di-or heart — no I Ilrnren knows 1 don't!" 8lit^ 
her hands in qnih- an ognny of distreiw. " I do nat)ii|| 
beg and pray you to he comforliil, and overlook it. But if I fc . 
known that you were kind to the old man jour^lf, and toolT^ 
notice nf him, nnd wen- alwaye glad to »ee him. I wonid ttOt 
vottio htfl* with him, fntlier. I wwdd not indeed, \VhBt I h* 
BO xiuUappy n>> to do, 1 hare done in nriftakr'. I would not ^ 
bring a tear to your ejea, dear love ! " wid Little Dorril, her h 
well nigh brokai, "for anyUung the worid eoiild give me, or aliy-^ 
thing it oonld take away," 

Canny, Avith a partly angrj- am] partlf repentant aob, began to a 
bctwclf, and to uy — as this yoong Itidy afwajf said when ^he mt h 
in a juiHsion aad half out of it, hnlf-Bpitefnl with hctwlf an' 
■jntciul with i>\-erybodr fbe— tlint ghc winhril she wax deoi). 

The Father of thi-'SfawhalM-a in the meantime took hl» j 
daughter lu hin breast, and putted her head. 




Biy B> BMW, JOBfi t^^Bft 'WMWlf'IIBUMW^'J 



LITTLE DOERIT. 275 

-^ill forget it as soon as I can. I/' with hysterical cheerfulness^ 

* * I — shall soon be able to dismiss it. It is perfectly trae, my dear, 

Uiat I am always ^Lad to see my old pemdonor — as such, as such— ^nd 

that I do— ha — extend as much protection and kindness to the — hum 

bruised reed-— I trust I may so call him without impropriety — 

in my cireiimstflncei, I can. It is quite trae that this is tiie esse, % 




ip^ith that, and wound that — ^wound it deeply. It is not that I have 
seen my good Amy attentive, and — ^ha — condescending to my old 
pensioner — it is not that that hurts me. It is, if I am to close the 
painful subject by being explicit, that I have seen my child, my owii , 
dhild, my own dan^ter, ooming into this College out of tiic public j 
streets — smiling ! soiiling ! — firm in aim with — my God, a 



This reference to the coat of no out and no time, the unfortunate 
gentleman gasped forth, in a scarcely audible voice, and with his 
oienched pocket-handkerchief raised in the air. His^ excited feelings 
mi^t hsTO found some further painful utterance, but for a knock at 
tbe dooTj which had been already twice repeated, and to which Panny 
(atill wishing hers^ dead, and indeed now going so far as to add, 
iHiried) eriad ** Come in !^' 

"Ah, Young John ! " said the Father, in an altered and calmed Toice. 
'' "What is it. Young John ? " 

" A letter £)r you, ar, being left in the Lodge just tiiis minute, and 

» ZBeasage with it, I thought, happening to be th^e myself, sir, I 

isncMdd bring it to your room.'' The speaker's attention was much 

l^ the piteous spectacle of Little Dorrit at her father's feet, 

.th her head turned away. 

*' Indeed, John ? Thank you." 

*'The letter is fix)m Mr. Clennam, sir— it's the answer — and the 
was, sir, that Mr. Clennam also sent his compliments, and 
id that he would do himself the pleasure of calling dis afternoon, 
^^^^''^ing to see you, and likewise " attention moro distracted than before 
" '^IiBsAmy." 

'* Oh ! " As the Father glanced into the letter {thore was a bank- 
^ je in it), he reddened a Uttie, and patted Amy on the head afi^t^sh. 
*" *"" sak you. Young John. Quito right. Much obliged to you for 
attention. No one waiting ? " 
'No, sir, no one waiting." 

* Thank you, John. Hjow is your mother, Young John ? " 
' Thank you, sir, ^e's not qiiite as well as we could wish-^-in fact, 
none of us are, except father— but she's pretty well, sir." 
^Say we sent our remembrances, will you? Say, kind rcmcm- 
», if you please^ Young John." 
, * * Thank you, sir, I will." And Mr. Chivcry, junior, went his way, 
^^Xring spontaneously composed on the spot an entirely new epitaph 
^^ hisuelf, to the effect tiiat Here lay the body of John Chivery, 
10, ]EUiving at such a^date, Beheld the idol of his life. In grief and 
And feeling. unsUe to bear the harrowing Bpectaelo, Iiomf^^^^^ 



S7B irTTLB IWKBIT. 

repair^ to tbe abode of his inconsolable poronbi, And 
existence, Sy bis own rash act. 

"There, there. Amy!" said the Father, when Young /o!m 
closed the door, " let us say no more about it." The last few minul 
had improved his spirits remarkably, and ho was quite lightsonM 
" Where is my old pensioner all this while ? We must not Irare hi 
by himself any longer, or he will begin to suppose he is not veloam 
and that would pain me. Will you tctoh him, my child, 
shall I?" 

"If you wouldn't mind, father," said Little Dorrit, trying to br 
hor sobbing to a close. 

" Certainly I will go, my dear. I forgot ; your eyes ore rather rw 
There ! Cheer up. Amy. Bon't be uneasy about me. 1 am qull 
myself again, my love, quite myself. (Jo to your room, Amy, U 
make your face, look comfortable and pleasant to receive Mr. ClennAm. 

"I would rather stay in my own room, Father," returned LitI 
Borrit, finding it more difficult than before to regain her composoK 
" I would far rather not see Mr. Clennam." 

" Oh, fie, fie, my dear, that's folly. 5tr. Clcnnam is 
gentlemanly man — very gentlemanly. A little reserved at 
but I ivill say extremely gentlemanly. I couldn't think of your 
being here to rcceire Mr. Olennam, my dear, especially thi" aflm 
So go and fit'shcn yourself up, Amy ; go and ff^eshen yourself up, 
a good girl." 

Thua directed, Little Dorrit dutifully rose and obeyed : only pmiuil 
for a moment as she went out of the room, to give her sister k 1uh> 
reconciliation. Upon which, that young lady, feeling much haraM 
in her mind, and having for the time worn out the wish wil 
which shtf generally relieved it, conceived and esecuti'd tho brilli* 
idea of wishing old Nandy dead, rather than that he ahould 
bothering there like a disgusting, tiresome, wicked wretch, and m 
mischief between two sisters. 

The Father of tho Marshulsen, even humming a tune, and in 
his black velvet cap a little on one side, so niuch improved WC 
spirits, went down into the yard, and found his old pennonn' 
hat in hand just within the gate, as he had stixxl all tld* tii 
"Come, Nandy I" said he, with great suavity. "Come upsta 
Nandy; you know the way; why don't you come up statra?" 
went the length, on this occasion, of giving him his hand, and isyi 
"How are yon, NnndyP Arc you pretty well?" To which t 
vocalist returned, " I thank you, honored sir, T am all thr better 
seeing your honor." As they wtnt along the Yard, the Fathra- of 
MaTBhaIsi>a presented him to a Collegian of recent dfltl^. " An 
acquaintance of mine, sir, an old ix-nsioner." And then uJd, '* 
corered, my good Nandy : put your hat on." with great conaidi^ntM 

His patmtutge did not slop here; for he charged Haggy to g«i 
tea reaily, and inatruct^'d her to buy certain tea cakes, frwh hul 
eggs, cold ham. and slirimpa : to purohnse whirh eoltalian, hr ga*r 
a bank note fur ten pounds, laying strict injunctions on h«- to 
cnrcfhl of llio eliange. These pteiutnitions wen- in on advuncrd 
1' progre a i^ «nd his dKugfater " 












X.4 



••' 



^/ 



LllTLE DOllRIT. 277 

/*• *ii.'n Clcnnam presented himself. A\liom lie most gi'aciously received, 
^^iL 'besought to join their meal. 

^Y^ '* Amy, my love, you know Mr. Clennam even better than I have 
^« happiness of doing. Fanny, my dear, you are acquainted 
^^it|i Mr. Clennam." Fanny acknowledged him haughtily; the 
J^^^tion she tacitly took up in all such cases being that there was 
^ vast conspiracy to insult the family by not understanding it, or 
^ ^efficiently deferring to it, and here was one of the conspirators. 
Tliis, Mr. Clennam, you must know, is an old pensioner of mine, 
^^Id Kandy, a very faithM old man." (He always spoke of him as an 
""■•Vgeet of great antiquity, but he was two or threo years younger 
^ lian himself.) ** Let mo seo. You know Plomish, I think ? I thmk 
ty daughter Amy has mentioned to me that you know poor Plomish?" 
'' Oh yes !" said Arthur Clennam. 
" Veil, sir, this is Mrs. Plomish^s fatlier." 
** Indeed ? I am glad to see him." 

** You would be more glad if you knew his many good qualities,- 
r. Clennam/' 

" I^hopeJL jhall come to know them^ through knowing him," said ^ 
Artlmr, secretly pitying the bowed and submissive figure. \ 

'' It Ib a hohday with him, and he comes to sec his old friends who 
ure alwap glad to see him," observed the Father of. the Marshalsea. 
Then he added behind his hand, ''Union, poor old fellow. Out for 
the day/' 

By this time Maggy, quietiy assisted by her Little Mother, had 
spxMd the board, and tiie repast was ready. It being hot weather and 
the .priaom yeiy dose, the window was as wide open as it could be 
pushed. '* If Maggy will spread that newspaper on the window-sill, 
my dear/' remarked the Father complacenUy and in a half whisper to 
Xittlo Donrit, " my old pensioner can have his tea there, while we are 
liaring cars." 

80, with a gulf between him and the good company of about a foot 
xn width, standard measure, Mrs. Plomish' s father was handsomely 
x-cgaled. Clennam had never seen anything like his magnanimous 
protection by that other Father, he of the Marshalsea ; and was lost in 
^lie contemplation of its many wonders. 

The most striking of these was perhaps tho relishing manner in 
'^rhich he remarked on the pensioner's iniirmities and failings. As if 
^c were a gracious Keeper, making a running commentai*}' on the 
'decline of the harmless animal he exhibited. 

** Not ready for more ham yet, Nandy ? AMiy, how slow you are ! 
( His last teeth," he explained to the company, ** are going, poor old 

At another time, he said, ** No shrimps, Nandy ? " and on his not 
inntantly replying, observed, (*' His hearing is becoming ven' defective. 
ile'U be deaf directiy.") 

At another time, he asked him, '* Do you walk much, Nandy, about 
the 3rard within the walls of that place of yours ? " 

" No, sir; no. I haven't any great liking for that." 

"No, to be sure," he assented. "Verj- natural." Then he privately 
inlbrmcd the circle (''Legs going.") 



N. 



V- 



^» 



d78 LTRLB DOBBIT. 

Once, he aflked the pensioner, m that geoeral olemeiicy whidh asked 
him anything to keep him afloat, how old his joujiger gnnidchild 
was? 

''John Edward/' said the pensioiier, slowly laying downluB kiuft 
and fork to couider. ''How old, sir ? Let me think now." 

The Father of the Marshalsea tapped his jforehead. (''Memory 
weak.") 

" John Edward, sir? Well, I really forget. I eoold'nt say, at this 
minute, sir, whether it^s two and two months, or whether it's two and 
fiye months. It's one or the other." 

" Don't distress yonrself by worrying your mind about it/' he 
returned, with inflnite forbearance. ("Eaeulties evidently decaying 
-^old man rusts in the life he leads ! ") 

/^The more of these discoveries that he persuaded himself he made in 
^^thc pensioner, the better ho appeared to like him ; and when he got out 
of Ms chair after tea, to bid the pensioner good'^bye, on his intunating 
l^t he feared, honored sir, his time was nmning out, he made him- 
self look as erect and strong as possible. 

" We don't call this a shilHng, Nandy, ;yoa know," he said, putting 
one in his hand. " W^e call it tobaeoo." 

" Honored sir, I thank you. It^hall buy tobacco. My ftanks and 
duty to Miss Ainy and Miss Tanny. I wish |you gooa-night, Mr. 
Clennam." 

"And mind you don't forget us, you know, Kandy," said the 
•Father. "You must come again, mind, whenever you have an after- 
noon. You must not come out without seeing us, or we shall be 
jealous. Good-night, Nandy. Bo very careful how you descend the 
stairs, Nandy ; they are rather uneven and worn." With that he-stood 
on the landing, watching the old man down; and when he came into the 
room again, said, with a solemn satisfaction on him, "A melancholy 
sight that, Mr. Clennam, though one has the consolation of knowing 
that he doesn't feci it himself. The poor old feUow is a dismal wreck. 
Spirit broken and gone — pulv6riscd---orush€d out of him, air, com- 
pletely!" 

As Clennam had a purpose in remaining, he said what he could 
responsive to these sentiments, and stood at the window with their 
enunciator, while Maggy and her Little Mother washed the tea-service 
tmd cleared it away. He noticed that his companion stood at the 
window with the air of an affable and accessible Sovereign, and that, 
when any of his people in the yard below looked up, his recognition of 
their salutes just stopped short of a blessing. 

When Littie Dorrit had her work on the table, and Maggy hers on 
the bedstead, Fanny fell to tying her bonnet as a preliminary to her 
departure. Arthur, still having his purpose, still remained. At this 
time the door opened, ^vithout any notice, and Mr. Tip came in. He 
kissed Amy as she started up to meet him, nodded to Fanny, nodded 
to his father, gloomed on the visitor without further recognition, and 
sat down. 

"Tip, dear," said Little Dorrit mildly, shocked by this, "don't 
you see — " 

" Yes, I see. Amy. If you refer to the presence of any visitwr yoa 



LITTLE DOIUIIT. 279 

liayc hero — I say, if you refer to that," answered Tip, jerkiiig his 
head with emphasis towards his shoulder neareet Glennaia, '^ I see ! '' 

"Is that aU you say?" 

** That's all I say. And I suppose/' added the .lo% young .-man, 
after a moment's pause, '' the visitor will imderstand me, wh«i I «ay 
thaf 8 all I say. In short, I suppose the visitor will understand, that 
lie haan't used me like a gentleman." 

''I do not understand that," observed the obnoxious personage 
referred to, with tranquillity. 

** No? Why, then, to make it clearer to you, sir, I beg to let you 
laaaWj that when I address what I call a properly-worded appeal, and 
an urgent appeal, and a delicate appeal, to an individual, for a email 
temperary accommodation, easily within his poweiv^easily within his 
power, mind ! — and when that individual writes bcujk word to me that 
Ae begs to bo exoiised, I consider that he doesn't treat me like a 
ymtleman." 

The Father of the Maishalsea, who had surveyed his son in silence, 
no sooner heard this sentiment, than he began, in an angry voice : 

"How dare you — " But his son stopped lum. 

** I^ow, don't ask me how I dare, faiUier, because that's bosh. As 
to the £Eict of the line of conduct I choose to adopt towards the 
indlvidiial present, you ought to be proud of my showing a proper 
qiirit." 

"I should think so ! " cried Janny. 

''A proper spirit?" said the father. ''Yes, a proper spirit; a 
1)eooming spirit. Is it come to this," that my son teaches m o w i4 
«piiit!" 

" IToWy don't let us bother about it, feither, or have any row on the 
subject. I have Mly made up my mind that the individual present 
lias not treated me like a gentleman. And there's an end of it." 

" But there is not an end of it, sir," returned the father. " But 
there shall not be an end of it. You have made up your mind ? You 
IiAve made up your mind? " 

" Yes, /have. What's the good of keeping on like that ? " 

''Because," returned the Father, in a great heat, *'you had no 
xigbt to make up your mind to what is monstrous, to what is — ^ha — 
uoomoral, to what is — ^hum — ^parricidal. No, Mr. Glennam, I beg, 
^ar. Don't ask me to desist ; there is a — ^hum — a general principle 
UYolved here, which rises even above considerations of — ha — ^hospi- 
talitv. I object to the aaaertion made by my son. I — ^hu-*-I personally 
Mpel it." 

"Why, what is it to you, father?" returned the son, over his 
ghoulder. 

" What is it to me, sir? I have a — ^hum — a spirit, sir, that will 
snot endure it. I," he took out his pocket-handkerchief again and 
slabbed his face, ''I am outraged and insulted by it. Let me 
suppose the case that I myself may at a certain time — ^ha— or times, 
3iave made a — ^hum — an appeal, and a properly- worded appeal, and a 
<ielicatc appeal, and an urgent appeal, to some individual for a small 
temporary accommodation. Let me suppose that that accommodation 
^xnild have been easily eittended, and was not extended, and tha.t> tVv&t 



•'\ 



280 LITTLE DO&RIT. 

individual informed me that he hegged to be excuBed. Am I to be 
told by my own son, that I therefore received treatment not due to 
a gentieman, and that I — ^ha — ^I submitted to it ? " 

His daughter Amy gently tried to calm him, but he would not on 
any account be calmed. He said his spirit was up, and wouldn't 
endure this. 

Was he to be told that, he \idshed to know again, by his own son, 
on his own hearth, to his own £Bice ? Was that humiliation to be put 
upon him by his own blood ? 

** You are putting it on yourself, father, and getting into all this 
injury of your own accord," said the young gentleman morosely. 
'' What I have made up my mind about, has notibong to do with you. 
What I said, had nothmg to do with you. Why need you go trying 
on other people's hats ? " 

'* I reply it has everything to do with me," returned the Father. 
" I point out to you, sir, with indignation, that — ^hum — ^the — ha — 
delicacy and peculiarity of your father's position should strike you 
dumb, sir, if nothing else should, in laying down such — ^ha — such unna- 
tural principles. Besides; if you are not filial, sir, if you discard 
that duty, are you at least — hum — ^not a Christian ? Are you — ^ha — 
an Atheist ? And is it Christian, let mo ask you, to stigmatise and 
denounce an individual for begging to be excused this time, when the 
same individual may — ha — ^respond with the required accommodation 
next time ? Is it the part of a Christian not to— hum — ^not to try 
him again ? " He had worked lumself into quite a religious glow and 
fervor. 

*'I see precious well," said Mr. Tip, rising, "that I shall get no 
sensible or fair argument here to-night, and so the best thing I can do 
is to cut. Good night, Amy. Don't be vexed. I am very sorry it 
happens here, and you here, upon my soul I am ; but I can't altogether 
part with my spirit, even for your sake, old girl." 

With those words he put on his hat and went out, accompanied by 
Miss Fanny ; who did not consider it spirited on her part to take leave 
of Clennam with any less opposing demonstration than a stare, 
importing that she had always known him for one of the large body 
of conspirators. 

When they were gone, the Father of the Marshalsea was at first 
inclined to sink into despondency again, and would have done so, but 
that a gentleman opportunely came up within a minute or two to 
attend him to the Snugger}'. It was the gentleman Clennam had seen 
on the night of his own accidental detention there, who had that 
impalpable grievance about the misappropriated Fund on which the 
Marshal was supposed to batten. He presented himself as a deputation 
to escort the Father to the Chair ; it being an occasion on which he 
had promised to preside over the assembled Collegians, in the enjoyment 
of a little Harmony. 

*^ Such, you see, Mr. Clennam," said the Father, ** are the incon- 
gruities of my position here. But a public duty! No man, I am 
sure, would more readily recognise a public duty than yourself." 

Clennam besought him not to delay a moment. 

** Amy, my dear, if you can persuade Mr. Clennam to stay longer, 



LIlTLi: DORIHT. 281 

I can leave the honors of onr poor apology for an establishment, with 
eon£denec in your hands, and perhaps you may do something towards 
erasing from Mr. Clennam's mind the — ha — untoward and unpleasant 
circumstance which has occurred since tea-time/' 

Clennam assured him that it had made no impression on his mind, 
and therefore required no erasure. \ 

" My dear sir," said the Father, with a removal of his black cap yVJ^'.f 
and a grasp of Clennam' s hand, combining to express the safe receipt y^ 
of his note and enclosure that afternoon, ** Heaven ever bless you !" 

So, at last, Clennam' 8 purpose in remaining was attained, and he 
could speak to Little Dorrit with nobody by. Maggy counted as 
nobody, and she was by. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

MORE rOATUNE-TELLIKO. 

« 

Haoot sat at her work in her great white cap, with its quantity of 

opaque MUing hiding what profile she had (she had none to spare), 

and her serviceable eye brought to bear upon her occupation, on the 

"^Hndow side of the room. What with her flapping cap, and what with 

lier imserviceable eye, she was quite partitioned off from her little 

Mother, whose seat was opposite the window. The tread and shuf&e 

of feet on the pavement of the yard had much diminished since the 

taking of the Chair ; the tide of Collegians having set strongly in the 

direction of Harmony. Some few who had no music in their souls, or 

no money in their pockets, dawdled about ; and the old spectacle of the 

^T«itor-wLfe and the depressed unseasoned prisoner still lingered in 

^^niers, as broken cobwebs and such unsightly discomforts draggle in 

^nujTB of other places. It was the quietest time the College knew, 

**ving the night-hours when the Collegians took the benefit of the act 

^ d«Bp. The occasional rattle of applause upon the tables of the 

^^^uggery, denoted the successful termination of a morsel of Harmony ; 

w the responsive acceptance, by the united children, of some toast 

^ sentiment offered to them by their Father. Occasionally, a vocal 

'^'sin more sonorous than the generality informed the listener that 

**!*• hoastful bass was in blue water, or in the hunting-field, or 

^th ik rein-deer, or on the mountain, or among the heather; but 

u^e ICarshal of the Marshalsea knew better, and had got him hard 

and&rt. 

As Arthur Clennam moved to sit down by the side of Little Dorrit, 
•he trembled so that she had much ado to hold her needle. Clennam 
W% put his hand upon her work, and said ** Dear Little Dorrit, let 
^^ it down." 

™^ yielded it to him, and he put it aside. Her hands were then 
^**^wuly dasping together, but he took one of them. 



t8S 

'< Bxm iddom I hATe iMn yon kMj, lil^ 

'' I hme beenbiMy, «ir." §if 

**iBut I havd caibf to-daj^" Miid eknaam, ^"byiun aoddnt, of 
your haying been with thote good peqde oLote bj me. WI7 im4 
oomerta me, then ?" 

"I — ^I don't know. Or rather, I liioi^it -joa wiifbit be bmtf tao. 
Yoa<g«HraIly ore now, nr&Toa not f " 

Mb urn her trembling little tern and her downoMt Aee^ and 
eves *1}iat drooped tiie moment-tliej'were ndied to Jne- 'ba 
ainuMt witii as mudh conoem aa^tendenuiik 

''Hy child, yomrmanneriaeoehaagedl'' 

The trembling was now quite beyond her oontvoL Softlr mi 
drawing her hand, and laying it in her other hand, she sat befim ~ 
with her head bent and her whole £xnn trembling. 

** My own Little Doint," said Olffimam, awnpassionately. 

She burst in to tea rs. Maggy looked round of a sodden, and 
for at least a minnlS*; but did not interpose, dennam waited 
little while before he spoke again. 

'' I cannot bear/' he said then, *'* to see 70a weep; batlhiope 
4S a relief to an overcharged heart" 

<< Yes it is, sir. Noting but ib«t'' 

^* Well, well ! I feared you would thinJL too much of what 
here juat now. Itisof nomomaiit; net-theleast. lamonlj 
tunate to have come in the way. Lstitgobywith theaa taan. ft 
not worth one of ihem. Qneofihem? -Suirn an idle tting duvM ' 
repeated, with my glad consent, fifky times a day, to sare you 
moment's hoart-achc, Little Dorrit." 

• She had taken courage now, and answered, fu more in 
usual manner, '' You are so good ! But even if there was 
else in it to be sorry for and ashamed of, it is such a bad 

to you " 

. ^ ''Hush! '' said Clennam, smiling and touching her lips with 






•^ ,^ hand. '' Foi^tfulncss in you, who remember so many and so mvnthm^m^^ 
'^ would be new indeed. Shall I remind you that I am not, and fliat I -^ ' 




never was, an}'thing but the ^dgjgj^ whom vou aftreed to trust f Noc^^^^ 
'You remember it, don't you ? '^ 

'' I try to do Ro, or I othould have broken the promise just 
when my mistaken brother was here. You will consider 
bringing-up in jthis place, and will not judge him hardly, poor leDouP 
I know!" In raising her oyos with these words, she obmrved hK 
fiEuse more nearly than she had done yet, and said, with a quick 
of tone, '' You have not been ill, Mr.*Clcnnam?" 

"No." 

"Nor tried ? Nor hurt ? " she ad^ed him, anxiously. ^^^ , 

It fell to Clennam, now, to bo not quite certain how to answer. " " " 
said in reply : 

" To spoak the truth, I have been a little troubled, but it is 01 
Bo I show it so plainly ? I ought to have more fortitude and 
command than that. I thought I had. I must leom them of 
Who could teach me better ! " 

He never thought that she saw in him what no om else oooU 




UnUB DOBBIT. 9iM 

He never tiioiigltt that .in ^16 whole world there wefe no ofher eyes 
tiuit lo<dDBd uponihim witii'the aame light and strength as hen. 

''Bat it^hnngsone tD miiething that I wish to say/' he oontinuedy 
<< and therafiQire I will jiot cpuuxel even with my own face for teUing 
tales and being nniadthM to me. Besides, it is a privilege and 
pleasure to confide in my Litde Dorrit. Let me confess then/that, 
forgetting how grave I was, and howold I was, and how the time for 
sach thmgs had gone by me with the many yiears of sameness and 
little happineflB that made np my long life far away, wi&ont marking 
it— ^that, forgetting all this, I fimoied I loved some one." 

" Do I know her, sir ? " asked Little Dorrit. 

"No, my chnd." 

** Not the lady who has been kind to me for your sake ? " 

"Flora. No, no. Did you think " 

" I never quite thought so," said Little Dorrit, more to herself than 
him. " I did wander at it a little." 

"Well ! " said Clennam, abiding by the feeling that had ^edlen on 
him in the avenue on the night of the roses, the feeling that he was an 
older man, who had done with that tender part of life, " I found out 
my mistake, and I thought about it a little-^in short, a good deal — 
and got wiser. Being wiser, I counted up tmy years, and considered 
what I am, and looked back, and looked forward, and found that I 
should soon be grey. I found that I had climbed the hill, and passed the 
level ground upon the 'top, and was deeoending quiokly." 

If :he-had known the sharpness of the pain ho caused the patient 
heart, in speaking thus! While doing it, too, with the purpose 
of easing and serving her. 

" I foTuid that the day when any such thing would have been 
gracefiil in me, or good in me, or hopefal or happy for mc, or any one 
in connexion with me, was gone, and would never shine again." 

O ! If he had known, if he had known ! If he coidd have seen the . 
digger in his hand, and the cruel wounds it struck in the faithful ^3 
ble^ing breast of his Little Doint ! 

" All that is over, and d have turned my face 'from it. Why 
do I speak of this to Little Dorrit ? Why do I ^ow you, my child, 
the space of years that there is between us, and recal to you that I 
iuive passed, by iiie amoimt of your whole life, the time that is present 
to you?" 

** Because yon trust 'me, I hope. Because you know tiiat nothing 
^Mm touch you, without touching me ; that nothing eon nxake you ^^-^ 
liappy or unhappy, but it must make me, who am so grateM to you, 'V^ 
the same." 

He heard the ihriU in her Toice, he saw her earnest face, he saw x ^^ \ / 
iiesc dear true eyes, he«aw tiie quickened boeom that would have joy- r^- 
£iLly thrown itself before him to reoeive a mortal wound directed at 
iis breast, with the dying cry, " I love him ! " and the remotest \-^ 
fm8ecion_of Jie truth never jdawned. Jipon Jto mind. No. He saw 
ihe devoted little creature with her worn shoes, in her common 
dress, in her jail^home-; a slender child in body, a strong heroine 
in soul; and the light of ^er domestic story made all eim dark to 
lum. 



p 



284 UTTLE 0ORRIT. 

''For those reasons assuredly, Little Donit, but fixr another too. 
So iar removed, so dififerent, and so much older, I am tibie bettier fitted 
for your Mend and adviser. I mean, I am the more easily to be 
trusted ; and any little constraint that you might feel with another, 
may vanish before me. Why have you kept so retired from me? 
TeU me." 

''I am better here. My place and use are here. I am much 
better here," said Little Dorrit, faintly. 

** So you said that day, upon the bridge. I thought of it much 
afterwards. Have you no secret you could entrust to me, with hope 
and comfort, if you would? " 

''Secret ? No, I have no secret," said Little Dorrit, in some 
trouble. 

They had been speaking in low voices ; more because it was natural 
to what they said, to adopt that tone, than with any care to reaenre it 
from Maggy at her work. All of a sudden iMaggy stared again, and 
this time spoke : 

"I say! Littie Mother ! " 

_" Yes, Magg}'." 

E" If you an*t got no secret of your own to tell him, tell him that 
bout the Princess. She had a secret, you know." 
''"The Princess had a secret?" said Glennam, in some surprise. 
" What Princess was that, Maggy ? " 

"Lor! How you do go and bother a gal of ten," said Maggy, 
"catching the poor thing up in that way. "Whoever said the 
Princess had a secret? /never said so." 

** I beg your pardon. I thought you did." 

"No, I didn*t. How could I, when it was her as wanted to find 
it out? It was the little woman as had the secret, and she was 
always a spinning at her wheel. And so she says to her, why do 
you keep it there ? And so, the t'other one says to her, no I don't ; 
and so, the t'other one says to her, yes, you do; and then they 
both goes to the cupboard, and there it is. And she wouldn't go 
into the Hospital, and so she died. You know. Little Mother; 
Tell him that. For it was a reg'lar good secret, that was ! " cried 
Maggy, hugging herself 

Arthur looked at Little Dorrit for help to comprehend this, and was 
struck by seeing her so timid and red. But, when she told him that it 
was only a Fair}' Tale she had one day made up for Maggy, and that 
there was nothing in it which she wouldn't be ashamed to tell again to 
anybody else, even if she could remember it, he left the subject where 
it was. 

However, he returned to his own subject, by first entreating her to see 
him oftcner, and to remember that it was impossible to have a stronger 
interest in her welfare than he had, or to be more set upon promoting 
it than he was. "When she answered iervently, she well knew that, she 
never forgot it, he touched upon his second and more delicate point — 
the suspicion he had formed. 

" Little Dorrit," he said, taking her hand again, and speaking lower 
than he had spoken yet, so that even Maggy in the smtdl room could 
not hear him, " another word. I have wanted very much to say this 




UTTLB DOBRTT. 285 

to y<n] ; I baye tried for opportunitios. Don't mind me, who, for the 
iiL£ft.'i:ter of years, might be your father or your uncle. Always think of 
BDL^ as quite an old man. I know that all your devotion centres in this 
roo:B[i, and that nothing to the last will ever tempt you away from the - 
dta^^des you discharge here. If I were not sure of it, I should, beford (^ 
r, haye implored you, and implored your father, to let me maka 
le provision for you in a more suitable place. But, you may have an ^ "^ 
anwt — ^I will not say, now, though even that might be — ^may have, ail '^. 
ther time, an interest in some one else ; an interest not income \ 
'ible with your affection here." 
She was very, very pale, and silently shook her head. 
* * It may be, dear Little Dorrit.*' 

**1Jq...IIo. No" She shook her head, after each slow re- 
petition of the word, with an air of quie t <lpfiohtti"^ that he remem-^ 
l>oned long afterwcu^s. The time came when he remembered it ( 
''^ell, long afterwards, within those prison walls; within that very ! 
loom. J 

** But, if it ever should be, tell me so, my dear child. Entrust the 
t*Tith to me, point out the object of such an interest to me, and I will 
^y ^th all the zeal, and honor, and friendship and respect that I 
reel for you, good Little Dorrit of my heart, to do you a lasting 






O thank you, thank you ! But, no, no, no ! " She said 
?^i», looking at him with her work-worn hands folded together, and 
^^ the same resigned accents as before. 

** I press for no confidence now. I only sisk you to repose unhesi- 
^^*^Wk trust in me." 

Can I do less than that, when you are so good ! " 
^rhen you will trust me fully ? Will have no secret unhappines?, 
^^ ^ixxiety, concealed frx)m me ? " 
* -i^Jmost none." 
-And you have none now ? " 
L© shook her head. But she was very pale. 

"When I lie down to-night, and my thoughts come back — 
ley wiU, for they do every night, even when I have not seen 

^1^-. ^to this sad place, I may believe that there is no grief beyond 

T^Tr^ room, now, and its usual occupants, which preys on Little 
*^ 'smind?" 



^ le seemed to catch at these words — that he remembered, too, long 

jif^^^^^^^^ards — and said, more brightly, " Yes, Mr. Clcnnam ; yes, you 



e crazy staircase, usually not slow to give notice when any one 

f\^^^ coming up or down, here creaked under a quick tread, and a 

s^^^^tier soimd was heard upon it, as if a little steam-engine \\dth more 

^^^Xn than it knew what to do with, were working towards the room. 

c^^w^ it; approached, which it did very rapidly, it labored with increased 

^-l^^^^gy; and, after knocking at the door, it sounded as if it were 

^^^^jing down and snorting in at the keyhole. 

*^^«fore Maggy could open the door, Mr. Pancks, opening it from 



j^^ -*out, stood without a hat and with his bare head in the wildesiT^^ 
^^tion, l<)oking at Clennam and Little Dorrit, over her shoulder."^ 






286 LOTLM DORBTT. 

He had a lighted- cigar in his hand, and brought widi him airs of 
and tobacco smoke. 

''Paucks the gipscy/' ho obeerved, out of breath, '' 
tellin g.** 

""^e stood dingily smiling, and breathing hard at them, with a 
curious air. As if, instead of being his proprietor's gmbber, he 
ho triiunphant proprietor of the Marshalsea, the Marshal, all 
umkeys, and all the Collegians. In his great self-Batiafustion ho jfojmz^rai 
his cigar to his lips (being evidently no smoker), and took such a polK-^nl] 
at it, with his right eye shut up tight for the purpose, that he 
went a convulsion of shuddering and choking. But even in the 
of that paroxysm, he still essayed to repeat his £ivorite introdnction 
himself, ''Pa-ancks the gi-ipsoy, fortune-telling.'' 

'' I am spending the evening with the rest of 'em," said 
''I've been singing. I've been taking a part in White sand and 
sand. / don't know anything about it. Never mind. I'll take 
part in anything. It's all the same, if you're loud enough." 

At first, Clennom supposed him to bo intoodcated. But. he t 
perceived that though he might bo a litdo the worse (or Dettcr) 
ale, the staple of his excitement was not brewed from malt, or ~ 
from anv grain or berry. 

''How d'ye do, Miss Dorrit?" said Pancks. "I thought 
wouldn't mind my running round, and looking in for a 
Mr. Glennam I heard was here, from Mr. Borrii. How are 
sir?" 

Clennam thanked him, and said lie was glad to see him so gay. 

**(iav!'' said Pancks. '* I'm in wondorlul feather, t^ir. 1 can'" 
stop a minute, or I shall be misstHl, and I don't wont 'em to miss m( ^'. 
— Eh, Miss Dorrit?'' 

He seemed to have an insatiate delight in appealing to her, an — i-d 
looking at her; excitedly sticking his hair up at the same momen^^ t« 
like a dark species of cockatoo. 

" 1 haven't been here half-an-hour. I knew Mr. Porrit was in tl 
ehair, and I said, ' I'll go and support him ! ' I oug^t to bc» down i 
Bleeding Heart Yard by rights ; but I can worrv them to-morrow.- 
Eh, Miss Dorrit y" 

His little black eyes sparkled electrically. His very hair soomt-d 
s])arkle, as he rouu:hene(l it. He was in that hif^lily-ehargt^l statt* thi 
one might have expecte<l to draw sparks and snaps from him by pn 
senting a kuuckle to any part of his jigure. 

** Caj>ital conijjany here," said Pancks. — '' Eh, Miss Dorrit ?" 

She was hall' afraid of him, and im»»olute what to say. He Liughcd 
with a nod towanls ('lennam. 

••Don't mind him, Miss Domt. He's one of us. "NVe agrt^ thiij 
you shouldn't take on to mind me ])efore people, ])ut we diiln't me 
Mr. Clennam. He's one of us. Jlo'fi in it. -Vn't you, Mr. (.lennam' 
—Eh, Miss Dorrif:"' 

The ex( itement of this strange creature was fast eommimiratinir itspi 
to Clennam. Little Dorrit, with amazement, saw tliis, and olwrrvcc 
that they exchangt>d (piick looks. 

" 1 wa< making a remark," said Pancks, *' but I diHilare I forprf 





XJTIUI. DOHSIT. S87 

-what it was. Oh, I know ! Capital company here. Tye been treatiiig 
'em all round.— Eh, Mbs Dowit ? " K 

**Yery generouB of you," she returned, noticing: another of. the ^ 
quick looks between the two. ^ 

'' l^ot at all," said Pancks. ** Don't mention it. I'm coming into 
my property, that's tbe ^t. I can afford to be liberal. I think I'll 
give 'em a treat here. Tables laid in the yard. Bread in stacks. 
Pipes in fiEiggots. Tobacco in hayloads. Boast beef and plum pud- 
ding for every one. Quart of double stout a head. Pint of. wine 
too, if they like it, and the authorities give permission.-— Eh, Miss 
Dorrit?" v^./ 

She was thrown into such a confusion by his manner, or raiher by L 

him after every fresh appeal and cockatoo demonstration on the part ^ 
of Mr. Pancks), that she only moved her lips in answer, without 
formin g any word. 

oh, by-the-by ! " said Pancks. ** You were to live to know 
rhat was behmd us on that little hand of yours. And so you shall, 
[^shaJl^ my daiiing.— -Eh, Miss Dorrit? " 

^^e had suddeiily diecked himself. Where he got all the additional 
black prongs £rom, that now flew up all over his head, like l^e myriads 
of points tibat break out in the last change of a great flrerwork, was a 
wonderfol mystery. 

"But I shall be missed; " he came back to that; ''and I don't 
want 'em to miss mo. Mr. Glennam, you and I made a bargain. I 
said you i^oidd And me stick to it. You shaU find me stick to it now, 
or, if you'll step out of the room a moment. Miss Dorrit, I wish you 
good night. Miss Dorrit, I wish you good fortune." 

He rapidly shook her by both hands, and puffed down stairs. 

Aj-thur followed him with such a hurried step, that he had very nearly 

tumbled over him on the last landing, and rolled him down into tiie yard. 

** What is it, for Heaven's sake ! " Arthur demanded, when they 

burst out there both together. 

" Stop a moment, sir. Mr. Rugg . Let mo introduce him." 
With those words ho presented another man without a hat, and also 
'^p^th a cigar, and also surroimded with a halo of ale and tobacco smoke, 
'^^liich man, though not so excited as himself, was in a state which 
"^p'ould have been akin to lunacy but for its fading into sober method 
"^v-lien compared with the rampancy of Mr. Pancks. 

" Mr. Clennam, Mr. Rugg," said Pancks. ** Stop a moment. Come 
'^<i the pump." 

They adjourned to the pump. Mr. Pancks, instantly putting his head 
'^^Cuder the spout, request^ Mr. Rugg to take a good strong turn at the 
■t^andle. "Kr, Rugg complying to the letter, Mr. Pancks came forth 
^Xiorting and blowing to some purpose, and dried himself on his 
Ixandkerchief. 

'*I am the clearer for that," he gasped to Clennam standing as-' (,^ 
"toniahed. '* But, upon my soul, to hear her father making speeches v^^^n^ 
that chair, knowing what we know, and to see her up in that room^^Tr 
that dress, knowing what we know, is enough to — ^give me a back, x 
Rugg — a little higher, sir — ^that'll do ! " 



288 UTTLB DORBrr. 

Then and there, on that Marshalsea pavement, in the shados .>« 

A^ evening, did Mr. Pancks, of all mankind, fly orer the head axic 

Vr ^ shoulders of Mr. Bngg of Pentonville, Gfcoieral Agent, Accountant, 

^ and Kecoverer of Debts. Alighting on his feet, he took Clennam "by 

the button-hole, led him behind the pump, and pantingly produced 

fix>m his pocket a bundle of papers. Mr. Bugg also pantingly pxx>- 

duced from his pocket a bundle of "papers. 

** Stay ! " said Clennam in a whisper. " You have made a dis- 
covery." 

Mr. Pancks answered, with an unction which there is no language to 
convey, ** We rather think so." 

** Does it implicate any one ? " 

" How implicate, sir 1 " 

'' In any suppression, or wrottg dealing of any kind? '' 

*' Not a bit of it.'' 

*' Thank God ! " said Clennam to himself. " Now, show me." 

**You are to understand"— snorted Pancks, feverishly unfoldiii^: 
papers, and speaking in short high-pressure blasts of sentoioe0, 
** "Where's the Pedigree ? Wheie's Schedule number four, Mr. Bug^ t 
Oh ! all right ! Here we are. — ^Tou are to understand that we are 
this very day virtually complete. We shan't be legally for a day or 
two. Call it, at the outside, a week. We've been at it, night and day, 
for I don't know how long. Mr. Bugg, you know how long? Never 
mind. Don't say. You'll only confuse me. You shall tell her, Mr. 
Clennam. Not till we give you leave. Where's that rough total, 
Mr. Bugg ? Oh ! Hero we axe I There, sir ! That's what you'll 
liavc to break to her. That man's your Father of the Marshalsea!" 



LITTLE DOKKIT. 289 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

MBS. MERDLE's complaint. 

Besioning herself to ineyitable fate, by making the best of those 
people the Miggleses, and submitting her philosophy to the draught 
upon it, of which she had foreseen the likelihood in her interview 
with Arthur, Mrs. Gowan handsomely resolved not to oppose her 
son's marriage. In her progress to, and happy arrival at, this resolu- 
tion, she was possibly influenced, not only by her maternal affections, 
but by three politic considerations. 

Of these, the first may have been, that her son had never signified 

the smallest intention to ask her consent, or any mistrust of his 

ability to dispense with it ; the second, that the pension bestowed 

^n her by a grateful coimtry (and a Barnacle) would be freed from 

My little filial inroads, when her Henry should be married to the 

^ling only child of a man in very easy circumstances ; the third, that 

fienry's debts m^t clearly be paid down upon the altar-railing by his 

^ ^"in-la w. When, to these threefold points of prudence, there is 

fu ^ the fact that Mrs. Gowan yielded her consent the moment she 

/CQew of Mr. Meagles having yielded his, and that Mr. Meagles's 

' ^*9ection to the marriage had been the sole obstacle in its way all 

jp^^, it becomes the height of probability that the relict of the 

^^^^eased Commissioner of nothing particular, turned these ideas in her 

*^8^ious mind. 

Ajuong her connexions and acquaintances, however, she main- 
?*^ed her individual dignity, and the dignity of the blood of the 
r^^acles, by diligently nursing the pretence that it was a most unfor- 
^^^te business ; that she was sadly cut up by it ; that this was a 
P^J]fect fascination, under which Henry labored ; that she had opposed 



/?^Poiinding the family itself for the same purpose. In the first intcr- 
^^^ she accorded to Mr. Meagles, she slided herself into the position 
a} ^sconsolately but gracefully yielding to irresistible pressure. "Witlr' 
r^^ 'U.tmost politeness and good-breeding, she feigned that it was she — 
^t Xj^^j — ^^Q jjQ^ made the difficult}', and who at length gave wayj ^ 
J^^ that the sacrifice was hers — ^not his. The same feint, with the 

?^^ polite dexterity, she foisted on Mrs. Meagles, as a conjurer 
«^5Ht have forced a card on that innocent lady; and, when her 
^tui»e daughter-in-law was presented to her by her son, she said, 
1 Embracing her, " My dear, what have you done to Henry that 
x^ bewitched him so ! " at the same time allowing a few tears 
Carry before them, in little pills, the cosmetic powder on her 

^^^ ; as a delicate but touching signal that she suffered much 



I 



890 UXTLB HOBBir. 

inwoidly, for the show of composure with which she hoie 1 
misfbrtime. 

Among the fiiendB^gf Jf^ Gowan (who piqued hendf at onoe 
heiiig(Bociety9 and' on maintaining intimate and easy relations wi 
that irarer), Ifwi Jfyyyjlft nmmjntS a front row. Tme, the Hampt 
Court Bohemians, without exception, turned up their noees at Ken 
as an upstart; hut the;^ tunned th^m down again, hj falling flat 
their &c«s to worshLp his wealth. In which compensating adjnstmc 
of their noses, th^ were pretty much like Treasury, Bar, and Bidic 
and all the rest of them. 

To lbs. Meidle, Mrs. Gowbk sepaixed on a risit of adf^condolflw 
idler having givoi the graoionsooBBeatafoxvsaid. She dvoFe into tot 
for the purpose, in a one-hone oaniage, inerereatly oaDad ai ft 
period of Kngiish histoty, a pill-hoz. It hdonged'to a job^nalBr 
a small way, who drore it himself, and who johhed it hy Ae dqv 
hour, to most of the old ladies, in Hampton Oout PUaee; but 
was a point of cenmony, in that encampment, that Aa whi 
equipage should he tacitly regarded as the mirate piopertjr a( % 
johber for the time being, and that the joS-mastar drnda %lfe 
personal knowledge of nobody but the jobber in possesrfott» Jhir 1 
Ciremnloaitian Barnacles^ who were the largest joh-maslwaia 
verse, always pcelended to know of no other job but tte jefc' 
diateiy in hand. 

Mrs. llenUe was at home, and was in hsr nest of orimaon 
with the parrot on a neigfabouring stem watching her with Ub 
one side, as if he took her for another splendid parrot of a till 
Kpeeies. To whom entered Mrs. Gowan, with her forourite gns 
fon, which softened the light on the spots of bloom. 

'' My dear soul/' said Mrs. Crowan, tapping the back of her ftiflai 

hand with this fan, after a little indifferent conversation, '* j«i a 

mv (mly comfort. That affair of Henry's that I told you it, 

take pboe. Now, how does it strike you? I am dying to 

because you represent and express Society so wdL" 

L Mrs. Merdle reviewed the bosom which Society, was JuaautoWti- 

ro-iew; and having ascertained f^t Blmw - window tf V** UTrndL 

\ ' ' and tlw LgiidaDL jcsreUera to be in good order, replied : 

' '^ As to marriage on the part of a man, my dear, Society requii 

that he should retrieve his fortunes by marriage. Sociehr reqai: 

that ho should gain by marriage. Society requires that he shoe 

found a handsome establishment by marriage. Society does not si 

otherwise, what he has to do with marriage. Bird, be quiet ! " 

For, the parrot on his cage above them, presiding over the co 
fercnce as if he were a Judge (and indetnl he looked rather like on 
had wound up the exposition with a shriek. 

" Cases there arc,'' said Mrs. Merdle, delicately crooking the litt 
finger of her fovourite hand, and making her remarks neater by tl 
neat action ; '' cases there are where a man is not young or elegant, m 
is rich, and has a handsome cstabliBhment already. Those are ol 
different kind. In such cases " 

Mrs. Merdle shrugged her snowy shouldent and put her hand iq^ 
thejewd-itand, checking a little cough, as though to add, **yrix] 







LITTLE DORRIT. 291 

man looks out for this sort of thing, my dear.*' Then the parrot 
slirioked again, and she put up her glass to look at him, and said, 
" JBijrd! Do be quiet!" 

* * JBut, young men," resumed Mrs. Merdle, " and by young men you 
kxLovir what I mean, my love — I mean people's sons who have the 
"world before them — ^they must place themselves in a better position 
to-^wrajds Society by marriage, or Society really will not have any 
pat i once with their making fools of themselves. Dreadfully worldly 
all tihis sounds," said Mrs. Merdle, leaning back in her nest and 
pxitting up her glass again, " does it not ? " 

IBut it is true," said Mrs. Go wan, with a highly moral air. 

jMy dear, it is not to be disputed for a moment," returned Mrs. 

[He; "because Society has made up its mind on the subject, and 
tliex"<© is nothing more to be said. ILjBre ,w.^re in a more primitive \ 
5tq^'t<^^ if we lived under roofe of leaves, and kept cows and sheep and 
^^^J^^sttures, instead of banker's accounts (which would be delicious ; my 
^^a-r, I am pastoral to a degree, by nature), well and good. But we 
^<^ix*tlive xmder leaves, and keep cows and sheep and creatures. I 
Ppr£5ectly exhaust myself sometimes, in pointing out the distinction to 
EdxTwmd Sparkler." 

^3bXIis. Gowan, looking over her green fan when this young gentleman's 
'^^^'xi.c was mentioned, replied as follows : 

** My love, you know the wTetchcd state of the countrj- — ^those 
^™^R>Ttunate concessions of John Barnacle's ! — and you therefore know 
^*^<^ xeasons for my being as poor as Thingummy." 

* * A Church-mouse ?" Mrs. Merdle suggested with a snule. 

* • I was thinking of the other proverbial Church person — Job," said 
^*^*^^a« Gowan. " Either will do. It would be idle to disguise, conse- 
*l^cixatly, that there is a wide difference between the position of your 
®^^ " and mine. I may add, too, that Henry has talent " 

* * Which Edmimd certainly has not," said Mrs. Merdle, with the 
S^'^^^^test suavity. 

^ "and that his talent, combined with disappointment," Mrs. 

\^?"Vvan went on, " has led him into a pursuit wluch — ah dear mo ! 

'^^^^ know, my dear. Such being Henry's different position, the 

^^^^stion is what is the most inferior class of marriage to wliich I can 

T^^^ndle myself." 

Irs. Merdle was so much engaged with the contemplation of her . 
s (beautiful formed arms, and the very thing for bracelets), that; ;'^* 
^ ^-^ omitted to reply for a while. Housed at length by the silence, she' 
.^^^ed the arms, and with admirable presence of mind looked her 
^[^^nd ftiU in tiie face, and said interrogatively **ye-es? And 

^ '^And then, my dear," said Mrs. Gowan noi _quite so sweetly as 
^^^fore,^ " I should be glad to hear what you have to say to it." 

Here the parrot, who had been standing on one leg since he screamed , P 
^t, burst into a fit of laughter, bobbed himself derisively up and \ 
^own on both legs, and finished by standing on one leg again, and 
l^ausing for a reply, with his head as much awry as he could possibly 
twist it. 
" jSounds mereettary, to ask what the gentleman is to get with the 



l^gSS 



UTTUI DOBRUT. 



' lady," Bidd Mrs. Mcrdlc; "but Sodety m perhaps a little meruei 
you know, my dear." 

" From wliat I tan make out," said Mrs. Gowan, " I bdicTO 1 1 
say that Honry will be relieved from debt "' 

" Much in debt '(" afiked Mrs. Merdlc through her cye-glan. 

" Why tolerably, I should think," said Mrs. Oowan. 

" Meaning tlie nsunl thing; I undcretand; just to," Mn. Uvi 
obeen-od in a, comfortable sort of way. 

" And that tho father will mako them an allowance of three htuid.^E 
a-year, or perhaps altogether something mon-, Which, in Italy 

'• Oh ! Going to Italy V said Mrs. Merdlu. 

" For Henry to study, You need be at no loss to guess vhy, 
dear. That dreadful Art — " 

True. Mra. Merdle hastened to spare the feelings of her affiic^^ 
friend, She understood. Say no more ! 

"And that," said Mrs. Gowan, shaking her despondool hr?^^ 
" that's nil. That," repeated Mrs. Gowan, Airling her green fan -* 
the moment and tap]iing her chin with it (it was on the way to bt ■^^ 
u double chin ; might be culled a chin and a half at prt^ent), " th^ * 
all ! On the death of the old people, I suppose there will \» more -^^ 
come ; but how it mav be reatnctod or locked ap, I don't know. S^^- 
as to that, they moylJTe for e\-er. My dear, they are just thr ki— ^ 
of people to do it." 

Kow, Mrs. Merdle, who really knew lux friend Society prrt^ w^ ~ 
and who knew what Society e mothers were, and what Societ:^ 
daughters were, and what Society's matrimosiaLBuiket wnf. and b ^^ 

griecs ruled^init, and what scheming and roiinler-scheming took pl» 
ir the high buyers, and what baiptining and huekstering went ^ 
thought in the dcpllis of her capacious bosom that this was 
cienUy good catch. Knowing, however, what was eipwtcd of 
and perceiTing the eiaet nature of the fiction to be nur^, the ' 
delicately in her arms, and put her required ciintabui^Ql] 
upon it. 

"And that is all, my dear?" paid she, heaving a friendly 
" Weil, well ! The fault is not yours. You have nothing to wp 
yourself with. You must exercise the strength of mind for whira 
■re renowned, and make the best of it." 

" Ihe girl's family have made," said Mra. Gowan, " of coone, IP" 
roost strenuous endi^vours to — as the lawyers say — tu bare and 
hold Henry." 

"Of course they have, my dear," said Mrs. Merdle, 

" I have persisted in every possible objection, and hare warn 
myself morning, noon, and night, for means to detach Henry from I 
connexion." 

" No doubt you ha\-c, my dear," said Mrs. Merdle. 

" And all of no use. AU has broken down beneath me. Now t^ 
me, my luvc. Am I justified in at last yielding my 
consent to Henry's marryinjt among pvople not in Society; or, kkl 
ucImI with inexuusable weakness?" 

1 answer to this direct appeal, Mi«. Merdle aamred Ibfc 





UTTLB DORBTT. 203 

^^nended, that she was mucli to be sympathised with, that she had . 
^ [en the highest of parts, and had come out of the furnace refined. ^<)^ ^ f 

id Mrs. Gowan, who of course saw througli her own threadbareAV. /y 
,d perfectlyy and who knew that Mrs. Merdle saw through it \ Ijcy 
^yerlecUj, and who knew that Society would see through it perfectly, vJ 
came out of this form, notwithstanding, as she had gone into it, with 
immense complacency and grayity. 

^ The conference was held at four or five o'clock in the afternoon, 
wiien all the region of Harley Street, Cavendish Square, was resonant 
of carnage-wheels and double-knocks. It had reached this point 
when Mr. Merdle came home, £rom his daily occupation of causing the 
Britiah name to be more and more respected in all parts of the civilised 
globe, capable of the appreciation of world-wide commercial enterprise 
and gigantic combinations of skill and capital. For, though nobody 
knew with the least precision what Mr. Merdle' s business was, except 
tliat it was to coin money, these were the terms in which everybody 
defined it on all ceremomous occasions, and which it was the last new 
polite reading of the parable of the camel and the needle's eye to 
accept without enquiry. 

For a gentleman who had this splendid work cut out for him, 
Mr. Merdle looked a little common, and rather as if, in the course of 
Ilia vast transactions, he had accidentally made an interchange of 
heads with some inferior spirit. He presented himself before the two 
ladies, in the course of a dismal stroll through his mansion, which had 
no apparent object but escape from the presence of the chief butler. 

**I b^ your pardon," he said, stopping short in confusion; "I 
didn't know there was anybody here but the parrot." 

However, as Mrs. Merdle said ** You can come in ! " and as Mrs. 
Oowan said she was just going, and had already risen to take her 
leave, he came in, and stood looking out at a distant window, with his 
hands crossed under his imeasy coat-cuf^, clasping his wrists as if he 
were taking himself into custody. In this attitude he fell directly 
into a reverie, from which he was only aroused by his wife's calling 
to him from her ottoman, when they had been for some quarter-of-an- 
liour alone. 

"Eh? Yes?" said Mr. Merdle, turning towards her. '* What 
is it?" 

" What is it ? " repeated Mrs. Merdle. " It is, I suppose, that you 
iiave not heard a word of my complaint." 

"Your complaint, Mrs. Merdle?" said Mr. Merdle. "I didn't 
imow that you were suffering from a complaint. What complaint ? " 

" A complaint of you," said Mrs. Merdle. 

"Oh! A complaint of me," said Mr. Merdle. "What is the 
— ^what have I — ^what may you have to complain of in me, Mrs. 
Merdle?" 

In his withdrawing, abstracted, pondering way, it took him some 
time to shape this question. As a kind of faint attempt to convince 
faimself that he was the master of the house, he concluded by present- 
ing his forefinger to the parrot, who expressed his opinion on that 
QRibject by instantiy driving his bill into it. 

" You were saying, Mrs. Merdle," said Mr. Meidk, m>^\. \!^ 



294 UTILE DORSIT. 

wounded fisger in bis month, ''that yon had a oonq^laiiit against 






me?" 



*' A complaint which I could Ecarcel^ show the justioe of moro 
emphaticallYy than by having to repeat it," said Mrs. ICeidle. ''I 
might as wcU have stated it to the wall. I had faa better have stated 
it to the bird. He would at least have screamed." 

'' You don't want me to scream, Mrs. Merdle, I snppote," said Mr. 
Merdle, taking a chair. 

" Indeed I don't know," retorted Mrs. Herdle, *' but fhat you had 
better do that, than be so moody and distraught. One would at least 
know that you were sensible of what was going on around yoo." 

'* A man might scream, and yet not be that, Mib. Mfsdle,*' said — 
Mr. Merdle, hea>-ily. 

** And might be dogged, as you are at present, without screaming," 
returned Mrs. Merdle. ** That's very true. If you wish to know 
the complaint I make against you, it is, in so many plain words, that ^ 
ryou really ought not to go into Society, unless you can aceommodate - 
j5:ourself to Society." 

Mr. Merdle, bo twisting his hands into what hair he had upon his 
head that he seemed to lift himself up by it as he started out of Ids 
chair, cried:' 

*' "Why, in the name of all the infernal powers, Mrs. Merdle ^ wh o 
does more for Society than I do ? Do you see these premises, Mrs. 
Merdle ? Do you see this furniture, Mrs. Merdle ? I)o you look in 
the glass and see yourself, Mrs. Merdie ? Do you know the cost of all 
this, and who it's all pro^dded for ? And yet "will you tell me that I 
oughtn't to go into Society ? I, who shower money upon it in this 
way ? I, who might be almost said — to — to — to harness myself to a 
watering-cart full of money, and go about, saturating Society, every 
day of my life?" 

** Pray don't be violent, ^Ir. Merdle," said 'Mrs. Merdle. 

'* Violent?" said Mi\ Merdle. **Tou are enough to nmke me 
desperate. You don't know half of what I do to accommodate Society. 
You don't know anything of the sacrifices I make for it." 

'* I know," returned Mrs. Merdle, '* tliat you receive the best in tho 
land. I know that you move in the whole Society of the country. 
And I believe I know (indeed, not to make any ridiculous ]>re- 
tence about it, I know I know) who sustains you in it, Mr. 
Merdle." 

*' ;Mrs. Merdle," retorted that gentleman, wiping his dull red and 
yellow face. ** I know that, as well as you do. If you were not an 
omanu nt to Society, and if I was not a benefj^^itpr to SoQifi^, you and 
I would never have come together. When I say a benefactor to it, 
I ni(;an a person who provides it with all sorts of expensive things to 
eat and drink and look at. Ihit, to tell me that I am not fit for it after 
all 1 have done for it — after all I have done for it," repeated Mr. 
Merdle, with a wild emphasis that made his wife lift up her eyelids, 
*' after all — all I — to tell me I have no right to mix with it after all, 
is a pretty reward." 

" I say," answered !Mrs. IMerdlo composedly, " that you ought to 
moke yourself fit for it by being more degage, and less pre-occupied. 



LITTLE DOIIRIT. Xil)5 

There is a positive \iilgaiity in canning your business affairs about 
"vrith you as you do." 
" How do I carry them about, Mrs. Merdle ? " asked Mr. Merdle. 
** How do you carry them about ? " said Mrs. Merdle. " Look at 
yourself in the glass.*' 

Mr. Merdle involuntarily turned his eyes in the direction of the 
nearest miiror, and asked, ^vith a slow determination of his turbid 
blood to his temples, whether a man was to be called to account for his 
digestion? 

** You have a physician," said Mrs. Merdle. 
<< He does me no good," said Mr. Merdle. 
Mrs. Merdle changed her ground. 

** Besides," said she, *' your digestion is nonsense. I don't speak of 
your digestion. I speak of your manner." 
} *T3&8. Merdle," returned her husband, " I look to you for that. You 
^ gyppply manner, and I supply money." 

** I don't expect you," said Mrs. Merdle, reposing easily among her 
oufihions, " to captivate people. I don't want you to take any trouble 
'Upon yourself, or to try to be fascinating. I simply request you to 
oare about nothing— or tojg ^g^ Jo care about nothing — as everybody 
•^ae does. 

'* Do I ever say I care about anjrthing ? " asked Mr. Merdle. 
" Say? 1^0 1 iN'obody would attend to you if you did. But you 
«iiow it" 

" Show what ? "What do I show ? " demanded Mr. Merdle hurriedly. 
" I have already told you. You show that you carry your business 
cores and projects about, instead of leaving them in the City, or where - 
ever else tiicy belong to," said Mrs. Merdle. ** Or seeming to. Seem- 
ing would be quite enough : I ask no more. Whereas you couldn't be 
more occupied with your day's calculations and combinations than you 
habitually show yourself to be, if you were a carpenter. 

" A carpenter ! " rei)eated Mr. Merdle, checking something like a 
groan. '* I shouldn't so much mind being a carpenter, Mrs. Merdle." 
" And my complaint is," pursued the lady, disregarding the low re- 
mark, ** that it is not the tone of Society, and that you ought to correct 
it, Mr. Merdle. K you have any doubt of my judgment, ask even 
Edmund Sparkler." The door of the room had opened, and Mrs. Merdle 
now surveyed the head of her son through her glass. ** Edmund ; we 
want you here." 

Mr. Sparkler, who had merely put in his head and looked round the 
room without entering (as if ho were searching the house for that 
young lady with no nonsense about her), upon this followed up his 
head with his body, and stood before them. To whom, in a few easy 
words adapted to his capacity, Mrs. Merdle stated the question at issue. 
The young g^atieman, after anxiously feeling his shirt-coUar as if it 
were his pulse and he were hypochondriacal, observed ** That he had 
heard it noticed by fellers." 

** Edmund Sparkler has heard it noticed," said Mrs. Merdle, with 
languid triumph. " Why, no doubt everybody has heard it noticed!" 
Which in truth was no unreasonable inference; seeing that Mr. 
Sparkler would probably be the last person, in any assemblage of the 



SM Lima Douir. 

liumuti species, to receive an imprcsdan trom unjlbing tliat [laascd in 
Iiis pn^scncc. 

" And Edmund SpurkliT will tell you, I dure say," Raid Mn. 
Uerdle, waving her faTorite hand tuwards her husband, " how he hu 
heard it noticed." 

" I eouldn't," paid Mr. Sparkler, afler feeling his pulse a* before. 
" eimldn't undertake to sny what lud to it — 'cause niemorr desprmtc 
loose. But being in company witli the brother of n dixwctl fint gal — 
well educated too — with no biggodil nonsense about her— at the puiiod 
ulludi-d to " 

•' There ! Never mind the sister," remarked Mre. Uerdle. b litUe 
inipaiiently. " Whot did the brother soy V" 

" Didn't «ay a word, ma'am," answered Mr. Sparkler. " Aft ailait > 
feller us rayself. Equally hard up for u remark. 

" Homelwdy said something," returned Mrs. Merdle. " Xerer iniiul 
who it was." 

('■ Assure you I don't in the least," said Mr. Sparkler.) 

" But tell U8 what it was." 

Ml'. Sparkler referred to his pulse again, and put himwlf through 
some Rcvcre mental discipline before he replied : 

" Fellers referring to my Governor — expreiuiion not ray awn— oo- 
eusionallr compliment my Governor in a very handsome war on bong 
immensely rich and knowing — perfect phenomenon of Buyer and 
Banker and that — but say the Khop sits heuvj- on him. Say be 
curries the Shop about, on fiis back rather — like Jew clolhceman witb 
.too much business." 

I "Which," said Mrs. Merdle, rising, with her floating dmprry tlbtnk 
hor, "is exactly my eompltiint. Kdmund, give me yotir am vf- 
1 stairs," 

ilr. Merdle, left alone to meditate on a better conformatton of 
himself to Socict}-, looked out of nine windows in succrMon, ad 
uppearfd to we nine waste's of space. ^Iien he laid tlius 
himself, he went down-etnirH, and looked intently 
carpets on the ground -floor; and then came up-stuin again, 
intently at all the carpets on the liret Hoor; us if tliey wcn^l 
depths, in unison with his opprt-Bsed soul. Through aU the 
wnndend, oa he always did, like the liHt pefwin on eurth wlw. 
business to a])pro[ieh them. Let Mrs. Merdle onnounco, 
might, that she was At Home ever so many iiighta in 
could not announce more widely and unmititttkeably than He' 
did tliat he was never at home. 

At lost he met the chief butler, the sight of which 
rtitoiner always finished him. Kxtinguiahcd by this grwit en 
sneaked to his dressing-room, and there remiiin(<d shut up 
rode out to dinner, with Mrs. Merdle, in her own hands 
At dinner, he was envied and fluttired iis a Iwlng of 
^^easuiied. Barred, and Biahopcd, as much as he would ; U 
C midnight came home alone, and being instanliy pot 
'■ own boll, like a rushlight, by the chief butler, 




/ 

/ 



UTTLK Dos&rr. a97w 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

A SHOAL OF BABNACLES. 

lliu Hekbt Gk)WAN and the dog were established frequenters of the 
Cottage, -and the day was fixed for the wedding. There was to be a 
^ouTocation of Barnacles on the occasion ; in order that that very high 
'^xid very large family might shed as much lustre on the marriage, as so 
^im an event was capable of receiving. 

To have got the whole Barnacle family together, would have been 
^^^mpossible for two reasons. Firstly, because no building could have 
lield all the members and connexions of that illustrious house) 
f^ondly, because wherever there was a square yard of ground in 
^British occupation, under the sun or moon, with a public post upon it, 
sticking to that post was a Barnacle. 'No intrepid navigator 
C'Oidd plant a flag-staff upon any spot of earth, and take possession of 
it in the British name, but to that spot of earth, so soon as the dis- 
covery was known, the Circumlocution Office sent out a Barnacle and 
a dispatch-box. Thus the Barnacles were all over the world, in every 
direction — dispatch -boxing the compass. 

But, while the so-potent art of Prospero himself would have failed 
in summoning the Barnacles from every speck of ocean and dry land 
on which there was nothing (except mischief) to be done, and anything 
to be pocketed, it was perfectly feasible to assemble a good many Bar- 
nacles. This, Mrs. Gowan applied herself to do; caUing on Mr. 
Heagles frequently, with new additions to the list, and holding con- 
ferences wi& that gentleman when he was not engaged (as he 
generally was at this period) in examining and paying the debts 
of his fkiture son-in-law, in the apartment of the scales and scoop. 

One marriage guest there was, in reference to whose presence 
Mr. Meagles felt a nearer interest and concern than in the attendance 
of the most elevated Barnacle expected : though he was far from 
insensible of the honor of having such company. This guest was 
Glennam^^/Sut, Clennam had made a promise he held sacred, among 
ytlBB'trees that summer night, and, in the chivalry of his heart, 
V regarded it as binding him to many implied obligations. In forget- 
fuLiess of himself, and delicate service to her on sdl occasions, he was 
never to fajl ; to begin it, ho answered Mr. Meagles cheerfrilly, " I 
shall come, of course." 

His partner, Daniel Doyce, was something of a stumbling-block in 
Mr. Meagles's way, the worthy gentleman being not at all clear in 
his own anxious mind but that the mingling of Daniel with official 
.BamacleiBin might produce some explosive combination, even at a 
Sarriage breakfast. The national offender, however, lightened him 
of his uneasiness by coming down to Twickenham to represent that 
he begged, with the freedom of an old friend, and as a favour to one. 




/ 



^ 



St8 iznxji Boum 

tiiat ho might not he invited. ''Eor," Baid ho, ''as my hnuoness 
ipth this set of gentlemen was to do a pnhlio duty and a puhlio 
service, and as their business with me was to prevent it by wearing 
yy my soul out, I think we had better not eat and drink together with a 
show of being of one mind." Mr. Meaglcs was much amused by his 
friend's oddity; and patronised him with a more protecting air of 
allowance than usual, when he rejoined: ''Well, well, Dan, yoa 
shall have your own ciotchetty way." 

To Mr. Henry Gk)wan, as the tmie approached, Glennam tried to 
oonvey by all quiet and unpretending means, that he was ftaaUy and 
disinterestedly desirous of tendering him any fnendsihip he would 
accept. Mr. Gowan treated him in return with his usual eaae^ and 
with his usnaLjhovr.of ocm&lfinfiPi whidi was no eonfl dBHoe at nlL 

« You see7 Clennam," ho haj^KOied to remark in the ooone of cool- 
vecBation one day, when they were waUdng near the CSoUage wiflnn m 
week of the maxriagc. '< I am a duappointed man. niat» joa know 
already." 

''Uponmy word," said Clennam, a little embanaasedy "I Ravody 
know how." 

''Why," returned Gowan. '' I belong to a dan, or a clique, or a 
ftmily, or a connexion, or whatever vou like to call it» Hiafc xao^^ 
have provided for me in any one of fifty ways^ and that took it 
into its head not to do it at all. So here I am, a poor deiil of an 
artist" 

Clennam was b(^;inning, '' But on the other hand — ^^ when Gowan 
took him up. 

'* Yes, yes, I know. I have the good fortune of being beloved by 
a beautifid and charming girl whom I love with all my heart." 
/ C Is there much of it ? '' Clennam tliought. And as he thought it, 
jielt nHhamed of himself.) 

" And of finding a father-in-law who is a capital fcUow and a liberal 
good old boy. Btill, I had other prospects washed and combed into 
my childish head when it was wtuslied and combed for me, and X 
took them to a public school when I washed and combed it for 
myself, and I am here without them, and thus I am a disappointed 



man." 



Clennam thought (and as he thought it, again fdt ashamed of him* 
self), was this notion of iK'ing disappointed in life, an assertion of 
station which the bridegroom brought into the family as his propcaiy, 
baring already carried it detrimentally into his pursuit ? And was 
it a hopeful or a promising thing anywhere ? 

" ^'ot bitterly disappointed, I think," he said aloud. 

'^ Hang it, no ; not bitterly,'' laughc>d Gowan. " My pec^de are not 
worth that — though they are charming lollows, and I have the greatest 
afiection for them. Besides, it's ])leasant to show them that I can do 
without them, and that they may all go to the Devil. And besides 
again, most men are disappointed in life, somehow or other, and inMu- 
cnced bv their disappointment. Eut it's a dear good world, and I 
love it !"" 

'• It lies fair before you now," said Arthur. 

''Fair as this summer river," cried the other, with cnthusiasmy 



UTTLS DOfiEIT. 299 

'* and by Jo^c I glow wiiih odmirfition of it, and with ardour to run a 
race in it. It's the best of old worlds ! And my calling ! The best 
of old callings, isn't it?" 

*♦ Full of interest and ambition, I conceive," said Clennam. 

•* And imposition," . added Gowan, laughing ; ** we won't leave out 
the imposition. I hope I may not break down in that ; but there, 
my being ft disappointed man may show itself. I may not be able 
to ikce it out gravely enough. Between you and me, I think there 
is some danger of my being just enough soured not to bo able to 
do that" 

" To do what ?" asked Clennam. 

** To keep it up. To help myself in my turn, as the man before 
me helps himself in his, and pass the bottle of smoke. To keep ^^ 
ap the pretence as to labor, and study, and patience, and being devoted . y 
to my art, and giving up many solitary days to it, and abandoning ^ 
manj pleasures for it, and Hving in it, and all the rest of it — ^in^ 
short to pass the bottle of smoke, according to rule." 

** But it is well for a man to respect his own vocation, whatever it 
IB ; and to think himself bound to uphold it, and to claim for it the 
respect it deserves; is it not?" Arthur reasoned. "And your voca- 
tfton, Gowan, may really demand this suit and service. I confess I 
ahoold have thought that all Art did." 

'*What a good fellow you are, Clennam!" exclaimed the 
other, stopping to look at him, as if with irrepressible admiration. 
" What a capital fellow ! You have never been disappointed. That's 
ea^ to see." 

It would have been so cruel if he had meant it, that Clennam 
firmly resolved to believe • he did not mean it. Gowan, without 
pausing, laid his hand upon his shoulder, and laughingly and lightly 
went on: 

" Clennam, I don't like to dispel your generous visions, and I would 
give any money (if I had any) to live in such a rose-colorcd mist. 
But what I do in my trade, I do to sell. What all we fellows do, we 
do to sell. If we didn't want to sell it, for the most wo can get for it, 
we shouldn't do it. Being work, it has to be done ; but it's easily 
enough done. All the rest is hocus-pocus. Now here's one of the. 
advantages, or disadvantages, of knowing a disappointed man. You 
hear the truth." 
/"Whatever he had heard, and whetlier it deserved that name or 
Another, it sank into Clennam' s mind. It so took root there, that he 
began to fear Henrj- Gowan would always be a trouble to him, and 
that so far he had gained little or nothing from the dismissal of 
Nobody, with all his inconsistencies, anxieties, and contradictions. Ho 
found a contest stiU always going on in his breast, between his promise 
to keep Gowan in none but good aspects before the mind of Mr. 
Heagles, and his enforced observation of Gowan in aspects that had 
no ^^DK)d in them. Nor could he quite support his OAvn conscientious 
nature agunst misgivings that he distorted and discoloured him, by 
remindi^ himself that he never sought these discoveries, and that ho 
would have avoided them with willingness and great relief. For, he 
never could forget what had been ; and he knew that he had oucc 



soo 

disliked Uowan, for no better reason tliiin thiit ho had como in hu 

HaniBsed by these thoughts, he now began to wiali the marmga 
over, Gowan and Us young wife gone, and himself left to ftilBl his 
promise, and discharge the generous function he hod nccciited. Thii 
Iwit week was, in truth, an uneasy interval for the wnoli^ hoiue. 
nSSre Pet. or before Oowan, Ur. Ueagles vaa mdiiuit ; but, Clcnnam 
had more than once foiuid bun alone, with hia i-iew of Ihr »»!<!• naA 
acoop niueh blurred, and had often seen him look afUr them, tn tba 
garden or elsewhere when he was not seen by them, with the uU 
duuded iace on wliicb Uowan had feUen like a shadow, 
arrangement of the house for the great occasion, many little tv- 
minders of the old trayels of the father and mother and datightcr hjul 
to be disturbed, and passtd from hand to hand; and sometimoi, in 
the midst of these mut« witnesses to the life they bud had u>;;i-tli(x, 
oven Pet herself would jHold to lamenting and weeping. Unt. Ueogli^ 
the blithest and busiest of mothers, went about singing and (.'bevrinf 
everybody ; but she, honest soul, had her flights into itncc-roi 
'Where she would tyy until her eyes were red, and wonlil then t 
out, attribnling that appearance to pickled onions and jM-jipiT, 
nnging clearer than ever. Mrs. Tickit, finding no lialaum fnr ■ 
wonndod mind in Buchun's Domestic Medicine, suffered f^-atly fl 
low spirits, and from moving recollectionB of Minnie's infancy. When 
the latter werii powerful with her, she usually sent up secret mMBa| 
importing that she woa not in parlor condition an to her nttin*, ■ 
that she solicited a sight of "her child" in the kitohen; thcnr, I 
would bless her child's &ce, and bless her child's heart, and hug ber 
child, in a medley of tears and eongratidations, chopping-boud*, 
, roUing-pins, and pie-cnist, with the t«-ndeni(«s of an attached «ll 
' servant, which is a very pretty tcndi^mesn indeed. 

IJnt, all days oomo that arc to )>c ; and the marriage-dny wa> to 1 
and it came ; and with it come all the Uamacles who wptt biddm 
thn foast. 

There was Ur. Tito Barnacle, from the Circumlueutian OAtw ■ 
UewB Street, Grosvenor 8<iuare, with tin- rxpensivf Mm. Tile t 
nit 8tiltatalking, who made the Quarter Days so long in coming, i 
the three expensive Miss Tite Barnacles, duubte-loaded with booc 
plishmsots and ready to go off, and yet not going off with Ihc Am, 
ncsa of flash and bang that might have bwn cspcclrd. but ntl 
hanging fire. There was Somnele Junior, also from the Cvn^umlocntMl 
Office, leaving the Toiiimge of the conntry, 
supposed to take under his protection, to look after ititelf, anij. tooUi 
to say, not at all impairing the efficiency of his protection bj Ic* 
it alone. There was the engaging Young Barnacle, derii'ing tnus 
■prightly side of the family, also tWim the Circum location OlBce. gui^ 
and agreeably helping the- occasion along, imd truting it, in liw 
«perkling way, as oiii' of llic nffieial forms and Iocs of llir Chsivk 
Iiejiartment of How not to do it. Tliere wen- time < 
Barnacles, fVom three other offices, inHijitd lo all the vauet, and lonftfi 
in want of ■msoning, doing the maniagv as they wooU hilTV "dOBB* 



LITTLE ]>OIUllT. 301 

But, there was greater game than this. There was Lord Decimus 
Tite Bamade himself, in &e odor of Circumlocution — ^with the very 
flmell of Dispatch-Boxes upon him. Yes, there was Lord Decimus 
Tite Barnacle, who had risen to official heights on the wings of one 
inidignant idea, and that was, My Lords, that I am yet to he told that 
it behoves a Minister of this free country to set bounds to the 
philanthropy, to cramp the charity, to fetter the public spirit, to 
eontract the enterprise, to damp the independent self-reliance, of its 
people. That was, in other words, that this great statesman was 
always yet to be told that it behoved the Pilot of the ship to do any- 
thing but prosper in the private loaf and fish trade ashore, the crew 
heing able, by dint of hard pumping, to keep the ship above water yrith- 
out him. On thb sublime discovery, in the great art How not to do it, 
liord Decimus had long sustained the highest glory of the Barnacle 
funily ; and let any ill-advised member of either House but try How 
to do it, by bringing in a Bill to do it, that Bill was as good as dead 
and buried when Lord Decimus Tite Barnacle rose up in his place, 
and solemnly said, soaring into indignant majesty as the Circumlo- 
eation cheering soared aroimd him, &at he was yet to be told, My 
IriCods, that it behoved him as the Minister of this free country, 
to set bounds to the philanthropy, to cramp the charity, to fetter the 
poblic spirit, to contract the enterprise, to damp the independent 
self-reliance, of its people. The discovery of this Behoving Machine 
was the discovery of the political perpetual motion. It never wore 
out, though it was always going round and round in all the State 
Departments. 

And there, with his noble friend and relative Lord Decimus, was 
William Barnacle, who had made the ever-famous coalition with 
Tudor Stiltstalking, and who always kept ready his own particular 
recipe for How not to do it; sometimes tapping the Speaker, and 
drawing it fresh out of him, with a ** First, I will beg you, sir, to 
inform the House what Precedent we have for the course into whicli 
the honorable gentleman would precipitate us ;'' sometimes asking the 
honorable gentleman to favor him ^vith his own version of the Prece- 
deaot; sometimes telling the honorable gentleman that he (William 
Bamade) would search for a Precedent ; and oftentimes crushing the 
honorable gentleman flat on the spot, by telling him there was no 
Precedent. But, Precedent and Precipitate were, under all circum- 
itances, the well-matched pair of battle-horses of this able Circumlo- 
cutionist. No matter that the unhappy honorable gentleman had been 
trying in vain, for twenty-five years, to precipitate William Barnacle 
into this — ^WUliam Barnacle still put it to the House, and (at second- 
hand or so) to the country, whether he was to be precipitated into this. 
No matter that it was utterly irreconcileable with the nature of things 
and course of events, that the wretched honorable gentleman could 
possibly produce a Precedent for this — ^William Barnacle would never- 
thelfias thank the honorable gentleman for that ironical cheer, and 
would close with him upon that issue, and would tell him to his teeth 
that there was no Precedent for this. It might perhaps have been ob- 
jected that the William Barnacle wisdom was not high wisdom, or th(^ 
^rnxOi it bamboozled would never have been made, or, if made in a ias>lv 



SOS IlITLB DOBBIT. 



]^ xniBtake, Troold lutre reaiained blank mad. But, Iteoedent and I^ 
V dpitate together ftigphtened all objection out of moat people. 

And there, too, waa another Baznade, a livelT one, who bad Imgei 
tfaroogli twenty placea in qnick aacceeaion, and waa ahraya in two at 
three at once, and who was the mnch reagected inventor of an art wUdh 
he practiaed with great aneceaB and admiration in allBamade Qoftm- 
menta. Thiawaa, whenhewaaaaked aParUamentaryqiifiBlioaoBai^ 
one topic, to return an anawer on any other. It had done nnaMPM 
service, and brought him into higb esteem with the CfatnunloeaKai 
Office. 

And there too was a sprinkling of lesa diatrngniwhed PiaiK am a nla q 
Bainaoles, who had not as yet got anything anug^ and wete goim 
through Uidr probation to prove their wortfameaa. Theae Bmadsi 
perched upon staircases and hid in passages, waiting their oaden h 
make houses or not to make houaes; and the^ did aU their ***>— *it. 
and ohing, and dieering, and barking, under direotiona from tlia haal 
of the ftmily ; and they put dummy motions on the poNsr in llie WM 
of other men'a motions, and they stalled diaagrecable autjeeta off warn 
late in the nisht and late in the session, and then wi& viflHW 
patriotism cried out that it was too late ; and they went down iMk 
thu countty, whenever they were sent, and swore uiat Lord BeeiaBai 
bad revived trade fbom a swoon and commerce from a flt^ and had 
doubled the harveet of com, quadrupled the harveat of haj, aaal 
prevented no end ci gold fhun flying out of the Bank. Alao Ambi 
Aunadcs were dealt, by the heads of the family, like eo many eaiA 
below the court cards, to public meetings and dinners ; where they 
bore testimony to all sorts of 8cn4ces on the part of their noble and 
honorable relatives, and buttered the Barnacles on all sorts of toaats. 
And they stood, under similar orders, at all sorts of elections ; and they 
turned out of their own seats, on the shortest notice and the most 
unreasonable terms, to let in other men ; and thoy fetched and carried, 
and toadied and jobbed, and corrupted, and ate heaps of dirt, and wen 
indefatigable in the public service. And there was not a list, in all the 
Circumlocution Office, of places that might fall vacant anywhere withir 
half a century, from a lord of the Treasury to a Chinese consul, and U{ 
again to a governor-general of India, but, as applicants for such places, 
the names of some or of e\'cry one of these hungry and aoneaivi 
Barnacles were down. 

It was necessarily but a sprinkling of any class of Barnacles that 
attended the marriage, for there were not two score in all, and what i 
that subtracted from Legion ! But, the sprinkling was a swarm in tlu 
Twickenham cottage, and filled it. A Bamade (assisted by a Barxkade' 
married the happy pair, and it behoved Lord Decimus lite BaraacL 
himself to conduct Mrs. Meagles to breakfast. 

The entertainment was not as agreeable and natural as it might 
have been. Mr. Meaglcs, hove down by his good company whih 
he highly appreciated it, was not himself. Mrs. Gbwan was herself, 
and that did not improve him. The fiction that it was not Mr. 
Mcogles who had stood in the way, but that it was the Family 
greatness, and that the Family greatness had nmdc a conceaaion, and 
there waa now a soothing unanimity, pervaded the offidr, tfaou^ it 



UTTLE DORRIT. 803 

^as xus-ver openly expressed. Then the Barnacles felt that they for 

thcii^ parts would have done with the Meagleses, when the present 

ipotgoPiKiiig occasion was oyer ; and the Meaglcses felt the some for 

iiisax parts. Then Growan, asserting his rights as a disappointed man 

wIm) tad his grudge against the family, and who perhaps had allowed 

\asi mother to hayo them there, as much in the hope that it might give 

tbem some annoyance as with any other henevolent object, aired his 

pencil and his poverty ostentatiously before them, and told them ho 

hoped in time to settle a crust of bread and cheese on his wife, and 

that be begged such of them as (more fortunate than himself) come in 

tcMT any good thing, and could buy a picture, to please to remember the 

Pjwr^ painter. Then Lord Decimus, who was a wonder on his own 

xttliamentary pedestal, turned out to be the windiest creature here : 

ptopQtoDg happiness to the bride and bridegroom in a series of 

platitodes, that would have made the hair of any sincere disciple and 

*^liever stand on end : and trotting, with the complacency of an idiotic 

elephant, among howling labyrinths of sentences which he seemed to 

Wee for high roads, and never so much as wanted to get out of. Then 

^■fr. Tito Barnacle could not but feel that there was a person in company, 

y^hx} wonld have disturbed his life-long sitting to Sir Thomas Lawrence 

"^ ftll official character, if such disturbance hiid been possible : while 

•''^^Hiacle Junior did, with indignation, communicate to two vapid young 

S^Htlemen his relatives, that there was a feller here, look here, who 

^*^<1 come to our Department without an appointment and said ho 

'W'axited to know, you know ; tmd that, look here, if he was to break 

®Ut now, as he might you know (for you never could tell what 

*>i ungentlemanly Eadical of that sort would be up to next), and was 

Jp Baj, look here, that he wanted to know this moment, j'ou know, 

*^^t would be Jolly ; wouldn't it ? 

^Hie pleasontest part of the occasion, by far, to Clennam, was the 
P^^inftdlest. When Mr. and 3Irs. Meagles at last himg about Pet, in 
"lo room with the two pictures (wliere the company were not), before 
^^S-tig with her to the threshold which she could never re-cross to be 
ttio oJd Pet and the old delight, nothing could be more natural and 
^'•^iiple than the three were. Gowan himself was touched, and 
^'^^wered Mr. Meagles*s " 0, Gowan, take care of her, take care of 
^o^ I >i ^^ ^^ earnest " Don't be so broken-hearted, sir. By Heaven 

-AlA. BOy with last sobs and last loving words, and a last look to 
" ojmam of confidence in his promise, Pet fell back in the carriage, 
2JJ<i. her husband waved his hand, and they were away for Dover, 
^'•^oiigh not until the faithM Mrs. Tickit, in her silk gown and jet 
oliXot corlsy had rushed out from some hiding-place, and thrown both 
"€>^ shoes after the carriage; an apparition which occasioned great 
*^^^TpriBe to the distinguished company at tho windows. 

TPhe sai^ company being now relieved from further attendance, and 
—^ chief Bamades being rather hiuried (for they had it in hand just 
™^*i to send a mail or two, which was in danger of going straight to 
"^ destinatian, beating about the seas like the Flying Dutchman, and 
^ ^UTange with complexity for the stoppage of a good deal of important 
"^***ne8B oQierwiBe in peril of being done), went their oev^tvJL '^«:^v^ 



804 LITTLE DO&RIT. 

with all afiability conveying to Mr. and Mrs. Meagles, that gcxier-x%7 
assurance that what they had been doing there, they had been doizi^ 
at a sacrifice for Mr. and Mrs. Meagles's good, which they tlwaym 
conveyed to Mr. John Bull in their official condeflccnsion to that most 
unfortunate creature. 

A miserable blank remained in the house, and in the hearts of tbc 
father and mother and Clennam. Mr. Meagles called mily one 
remembrance to his aid, that really did him good. 

" It's vcr}' gratifying, Arthur," he said, ** after all, to look back 
upon." 

" The past ? " said Clennam. 

** Yes — but I mean the company." 

It had made him much more low and unhappy at the time, bvBt 
now it really did him good. " It's very gratifying," he said, oftc* 
repeating the remark in the course of the evening. ^'Such 
company ! " 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

WHAT WAS BEHIND MB. PANCKS ON LITTLB DOBBIT^S HAKD* 



It was at this time, that Mr. Pancka, in discharge of his comp — , 
with Clennam, rovealcd to him the whole of his gipst^y story, and r*-'^*^. 
him Littlo Dorrit's fortune. Her father was heir-at-law to a gr^'** ' 
estate that had long lain unknown of, unclaimed, and accumulatis*^' 
His right was now clear, nothing intei-posed in his way, the Marshald*-"'^. 
gates stood open, the Marshalsea wiills were down, a few flourishes *-* * 
his iK'U and he was extremely rich. 

In his tracking out of the ehiim to its complete (establishment, 

Pancks had shewn a sagacity that nothing could baffle, and a patic] 

and secresy that nothing could tire. ** I little thought, hit," ***^j 
Pancks, ** when you and 1 crossed Smitliiield that night, and I t^^*^ 
you what sort of a Collector 1 was, that this would come of it. ^ 

little thought, sir, when 1 told you you were not of the Clennomis ^ . 
Cornwall, that I was ever going to tell you who tv^re of the l)orrit*» ^^ 
Dorsetshire." He then went on to detail. How, ha\'ing tliat name '^'^" 
corded in his note-book, he was first attracted by the name alo-'^"*'*' ' 
How, having often Ibund two exactly similar names, even belong^- ^* 
to the same place, to involve no traceable consanguinit}*, near ^ 
distant, he did not at first give much heed to this; except in ^^ *?*^ 
way fif s]»e(ulation as to what a surprising change would be mt^^* 
in the condition of a little seamstress, if she could be shown ^ 

have any iuten^st in so large a j)roiK.'rty. How he rather suppoj-""^'* 
himself to have pursued the idea into its next degree, because ih^ * i^ 
"niis sonufthing uncommon in the quiet little seamstress, wh^ ^, ^ 
plea<4ed him and provoked his curiosity. How he had felt his \ ^ ' 
inch by inch^ and '' Moled it out, sir" (that was Mr. Pancki»*8 cxpi 




LITTLE DOKBIT. 805 

&oxi\ grain by grain. How, in the beginning of the labour described 
by this new yerb, and to render which the more expressive Mr. Pancks 
&ut his eyes in pronouncing it and shook his hair over them, he had 
alienated from sudden lights and hopes to sudden darkness and na 
lK>pc8, and back again, and back again. How he had made ac- 
9iuabtance8 in the ]^ison, expressly that he might come and go there 
9S all other comers and goers did ; and how his first ray of light was 
imcoDsciously given him by Mr. Dorrit himself, and by his son : to both 
of ^hom he easily became known ; with both of whom he talked much, 
ca»aally ("but always Moleing you'll observe," said Mr. Pancks); 
and from whom he derived, without being at all suspected, two 
^ tliree little points of family history which, as he began to hold clues 
^ his own, suggested others. How it had at length become plain to 
ttr. Pancks, that he had made a real discovery of the heir-at-law to a 
^rcat fortune, and that his discovery had but to be ripened to legal 
iiliiefls and perfection. How he hod, thereupon, sworn his landlord, 
&• Rugg, to secresy in a solemn manner, and taken him into Moldng 
ttrtnerBhip. Hbw they had employed John Chivery as their soleclerk 
>^ agent, seeing to whom he was devoted. And how, until the present 
*>Ur, when au&orities mighty in the Bank and learned in ttie law 
declared their successful labors ended, they had confided in no other 
lUixian being. 

** So if the whole thing had broken down, sir," concluded Pancks, 
* at the very last, say the day before the other day when I showed you 
•'tt vapen in the Prison yard, or say that very day, nobody but 
^QTsadves would have been cruelly disappointed, or a penny the worse." 

Qennam, who had been almost incessantly shaking hands with him 
^UtKij^at the narrative, was reminded by this to say, in an 
^masment which even the preparation he had had for the main dis- 
'lo3iire scarcely smoothed down, ** My dear Mr. Pancks, this must 
■^v© ooet you a great sum of money." 

** Pretty well, sir," said the triumphant Pancks. "No trifle, though 
*^ did it as cheap as it could be done. And the outlay was a dilfi- 
'^rfty, let me teU you." 

** A difficulty ! " repeated Clennam. " But the difficulties you have 
^ ironderMly conquered in the whole business ! " shaking his hand 
^Suin. 

** rU tell you how I did it," said the delighted Pancks, putting his 
^^T into a condition as elevated as himself. " First, I spent all I hud 
** tnj own. That wasn't much." 

** I am sorry for it," said Clennam; "not that it matters now, 
*^ough. Then, what did you do ? " 

** Then," answered Pancks, " I borrowed a sura of mv proprietor." 

*' Of Mr. Casby ? " said Caennmn. " He's a fine old follow." 

** ^Toble old boy; an't he?" said Mr. Pancks, entering on a series 

ij^ the dryest of snorts. " Generous old buck. Confiding old boy. 

^^^^ilanthropic old buck. Benevolent old boy ! Twenty per cent. I 

"^R^ged to pay him, sir. But we never do business for less, at our shop.'' 

'A.rthur felt an awkward consciousness of having, in his exultant 



^^dition, been a little premature. 
* I said to that — ^boilincr-over ol 



that — ^boiling-over old Christian," Mr. Pai^ekft '^\«reKVfc\, 



appearing greatly to relish this descrijitiTc ppitlicl, " tfaiti. I bad got 
little project on bsmd ; a hopeful one ; 1 told him & bopeftU one ; wlu 
wiuittfd a cwtain amnU mpituL I pntijosod to him to Itmd 
money UQ my noU'. ^Sliich ho did. at twt'nty: ctiridng lh« 
on in a buMncw-like iray, and putting it into iht? unto, to look lilu> 
part of tho principal. It' I hod broken down aflrr that, I Rhou 
navr boi-n his grubber for thi' rtpxt Mrren yi'tm al half mgvn oi 
double grind. But he's a perlL-et Putriiireh ; aud it would do a 
good to sen'e liim on anch tenns — on any terms." 

Arthur fur his life eould not have said with eoniidcnce wfaeth 
Fancks really thought no or not. 

" Whcu thiit w»a gone, ar," resumed Paneka, " und it did ^ 
though 1 dribbled it out like eo mneh blood, I hod lokun Ur. Kuj 
into Ihe Betn,-t. I jiroposwl to burrow of Mr. Rngg (or of Uias Ku-j 
it's tlie same thing; sdie mudi- u little money by a speculation in ti 
Common I'leas once). He lent it at t«n. and thought iJutt pnt 
high. But Jir. Rugg' 6 .t red-haired man, nr, and gets his Itsim 
And OS to th[! urown of his bnt, it'* high, .^d as to the brim of t 
hnt, it's narrow. And there's no more heiu'volencc bubbling dot 
Aim, than out of a nlncpin." 

" Your own recomiiense for all this, Mr, Pancks," said Clemai 
" ought lo bo a large one." 

" I don't mistmst getting it, or," said Pancks. " I hitTv madi 
bargain. I owwl yon one on that score ; now, I hure paid it, U( 
out of poekct mode good, time Curly allowed for, luid Mr. Rugs'* ''' 
settled, a thoueund pounds would lie a fortune to me. That nwOcr 
pbeo in yriiir h^ds. I authorise you, now, to break all thi« to U 
ftunily in any wayyon think bc«t, Miss Amy Dorrit will be wilfa Hi 
Finching this morning. The sooner done the better. Can't ba da 

This cniivcrsntion took place In Clcnniim'g bedroom, wlnlff Ik tn 
yet in bed. Por, Kr. Pancks hod knocked up the lioiue and n ' ' 
way in, very early in the morning; and, without uneo attiag d 
^lIlnding still, had delivered himself of (he whole of his dofaulB (tUu 
trated with a variety of documents) at the bedside, lie bow Mid b 
would " go and look up Hr. Itugg." from whom his excited ttate ■ 
mind appeared to require another bock ; and bunilling up liiit papcn, ai 
exchanging one more hearty ahuke of the luind with (aemuun, he vri 
at fiiU speed down-stBir-. and ateiiroed off. 

ClL-nuoin, of eourse, resolved to go direct lo SCr. Caahy'ft, 
Orcased and got out »o ijuiekly, that he found himwlf at tb<! ntfi 
the patriarchnl street nearly lui hour before her time; but lie wa i 
sorr^- to have the opportunity of calming hiuaclf witb a 
widk. 

When he reluraed to the stnvt, and had Imockcd at tbe 
brus kuodfpT, he was informed that Hho had tnaae, and waa 
ui)4lait7i to Flora's brenkfaHt-room, IJttlc Dorrit was not tbcn 
«pif, but Flora waa, and t(sti£ed the greatest amaunumt at « 
hiffl. 

" OoojI grariouK, Arthur — Doyee and Clomtam ! " criod tbak Lu 
" wbt wwid ban otct thoogh't of lociiig raoh a ngltt >• tUtai 



LTITLB DORsrr. 307 

'pTsy excoBe a wrapper for upon my word I really never and a fadod 

^lieck too which is worse but our little friend is making me a, not thai 

1 need mind mentioning it to you for you must know that there are 

such things a skirt, tmd having arranged that a trying on should 

take place after breakfast is the reason though I wi^ not so badly 

studied." 

** I ought to make an apology/' said Arthur, *' for so early and 
•bmpt a visit ; but you will excuse it when I tell you the cause." 

"in times for ever fled Arthur," returned Mrs. Finching, "pray 
excuse me Do3roe and Clennam infinitely more correct and though 
nnquestionably distant still 'tis distance lends enchantment to the 
view, at least I don't mean that and if I did I suppose it would 
depend considerably on the nature of the view, but I'm running on 
again and you put it all out of my head." 
She glanced at him tenderly, and resumed : 

** In times for ever fled I was going to say it would have sounded 
■trange indeed for Arthur Clennam — Doyce and Clennam naturally 
cniite difiiBrent — ^to make apologies for coming hero at any time, but 
uiat 18 past and what is past can never be recuJled except in his own 
case as poor Mr. F said when he was in spirits Cucumber and 
H&erefbre never ate it." 

She was making the tea when Arthur came in, and now hastily 
Aniahed that operation. 

" Papa," she said, all mystery and whisper, as she shut down the 
tea-pot lid, " is sitting prosingly breaking his new-laid egg in the back 
pttloT over the City article exactly like the Woodpecker Tapping and 
iJeed never know tlit you are here, and our little frioud you are well 
aware may be fully trujited when she comes do^\Ti from cutting out on 
tte large table oveAead." 

Arthur then told her, in the fewest words, that it was their little 
^end he came to see ; and what he had to announce to their little 
jWend. At which astounding intelligence. Flora clasped her hands, 
^1 into a tremble, and shed tears of sj-mpatliy and pleasure, like the 
^'^Hid-iiatured creature she really was. 

••For gracious sake let me get out of the way first," said Flora, 
putting her hands to her ears, and moving towards the door, '* or I 
*^ow I shall go off dead and screaming and make everybody worse, 
•^^ the dear little thing only this morning looking so nice and 
^^t and good and yet so poor and now a fortune is she really 
**^d deserves it too ! and might I mention it to Mr. F's aunt Arthur 
^^ Doyce and Clennam for this once or if objectionable not on any 
'•^coont." 

Arthur nodded his free permission, since Flora shut out all verlxal 
^^^*«Umunication. Flora nodded in return to thank him, and hurried 
'^t of the room. 

Little Dorrit's step was already on the stairs, and in another 
?^^*inent she was at the door. Do what he would to compose his face, 
^ could not convey so much of an ordinar}' expression into it, but 
J^ot the moment she saw it she dropped her work, and cried ** Mr. 
^ennam! What's the matter ! " 

** Nothing, nothing. That is, no misfortune Yias \i«g'^Tv^. "^ 

7^ 1 



308 LTVOM DOBBIT. 

have como to tell you somothing, bat it is a piece of great good* 
fortune." 

" Good-fortune ? " 

" WonderM fortune ! " 

They stood in a window, and her eyes, fall of light, were fixed upon 
his face. He put an arm about her, seeing her likely to sink down. 
She put a hand upon that am, partly to rest upon it, and partly so to 
pres^re their rdbatiTO positions as that her intent look at nim should 
be shaken byno change of attitude in cither of them. Her lips seemed 
to repeat ** Wonderfcd fortune ? " He repeated it again, aloud. 

" Dear Little Dorrit I Your father." 

The ice of the pale face broke at the word, and little lights and 
shoots of expression passed all over it. They were all expreesioiis of 
pain. Her breath was &int and hurried. Her heart beat fluit He 
would havo clasped the little figure closer, but he saw that the eyes 
appealed to him not to be moved. 

" Your &ther can be free within this we6k. He does not know it ; 
we must go to him, from here, to tell him of it. Your fiither wili be 
free withm a few days. Your father will be free within a few hoars. 
Bcmomber we must go to him, from here, to tell him of it ! " 

That brought her back. Her eyes were closing, but they opened 
again. 

** This is not all the good-fortune. This is not all the wonderftii 
good-fortune, my dear Little Dorrit. Shall I tell you more ?" 

Her lips shaped " Yes." 

** Your father will be no beggar when he is free. He will want for 
nothing. Shall I tell you more ? Kemeniber ! He knows nothing of 
it ; wo must go to him, from hero, to tell him of it ? " 

She seemed to entreat him for a little time. He held her in hu 
aim, and, after a iiause, bent dovna. his ear to listen. 

" Did you ask me to go on ? " 

**Yes." 

''He will be a rich man. He is a rich man. A great sum of 
money is waiting to be paid over to him as his inheritance ; you an' 
all henceforth ver}* wealthy. Bravest and best of children, I thank 
Heaven that you are rewardtni I " 

As he kissed her, she tumi^d her head towards his slioidder, and 
raised her ami towanls his neck ; cried out ** Father ! Father I 
Father ! " and swooned away. 

Ui>on which, Flora returned to take care of her, and hoventl about 
hvv on a sofu, intermingling kind ottices and incoherent scraps of con- 
versation in a manner so confounding, that whether she j>ressed the 
Marshalsea to take a spoonful of imclauniMl dividends, lor it would do 
her good; or wliether she congratulated Little Doirit's fallier on 
coming into j)osse8sion of a lumdred thousand smelling-bottles: or 
whether she explained that she put seventy-live thousand drops of 
spirits of lavender on fihy thousand pounds of lum]) sugiu-, and that 
she entreat(Kl Little Domt to take that gentle restorative; or 
whether she bathed tlu^ foreheads of Doyce and Clennam in vinegar, 
and gave the late Mr. F nioif air; no one with any sense of 
re.*y)0Jisibility could have undertaken to di'cide. A tiibutary stixtmi of 



LITTLE DOBRIT. 309 

oonfhsiony moreover, poured in from an adjoining bedroom, where Mr. 
^'s Aunt appeared, from the sound of her voice, to be in a horizontal 
posture, awaiting her breakfast ; and from which bower that inexorable 
lady snapped off short taimts, whenever she could get a hearing, as, 
**I>on't believe it's his doing!" and "He needn't take no credit to 
lumself for it!" and ** It'll be long enough, I expect, afore he'll 
^Te up any of his own money ! " all designed to disparage Clennam's 
share in the discovery, and to relievo those inveterate feelings with 
^wbich Mr. Fs Aunt r^;arded him. 

But, Little Dorrit's solicitude to get to her father, and to cany 
the joyful tidings to him, and not to leave him in his jail a moment 
^with this happiness in store for him and still unknown to him, did 
more for her speedy restoration than all the skill and attention on 
earth could have done. " Come with me to my dear father. Pray 
oome and tell my dear father!" were the first words she said. Her 
father, her father. She spoke of nothing but him, thought of nothing 
Ymt him. Kneeling down and pouring out her thankfulness with up- 
lifted hands, her thanks were for her father. 

Hera's tcKudemess was quite overcome by this, and she launched 
out among the cups and saucers into a wonderful flow of tears and 
Speech. 

** I declare,"- she sobbed, *' I never was so cut up since your, mama 
9iid my papa not Doyce and Clennam for this once but give the precioun 
little thing a cup of tea and make her put it to her lips at least pray 
-Axthnr do, not even Mr. F's last illness for that was of another kind 
gout is not a child's affection though very painful for all parties and 
F a martyr with his leg upon a rest and the wine trade in itself 
inflammatory for they will do it more or less among themselves and who 
^san wonder, it seems like a dream I am sure to think of nothing at all 
^his morning and now Mines of money is it really, but you must you know 
Xxty darling love because you never will be strong enough to tell him 
full about it upon teaspoons, mightn't it be even best to try the dircc- 
tdonB of my own medical man for though the flavor is anything but 
Agreeable still I force myself to do it as a prescription and find the 
\>enefit, you'd rather not why no my dear I'd rather not but still I do 
'Xt as a duty, everybody will congratulate you some in earnest and 
^oxne not and many will congratulate you with all their hearts but 
Tianc more so I do assure you than from the bottom of my own I do 
xnyeelf though sensible of blundering and being stupid, and will bo 
Judged by Arthur not Doyce and Clennam for this once so good-byo 
-darling and God bless you and may you be very happy and excuse tlu^ 
liherty, vowing that the dress shall never be finished by anybody else 
tjut shall be laid by for a keepsake just as it is and called Little Dorrit 
tihough why that strangest of denominations at any time I never did 
lyself and now I never shall !" 
Thus Flora, in taking leave of her favorite. Little Dorrit thanked 
•, and embraced her, over and over again ; and finally came out of 
"the house with Clennam, and took coach for the Marshalsea. 

It was a strangely unreal ride through the old squalid streets, witli 
^«i seoBation of being raised out of them, into an airy world of wealth 
Q2id*grandear. When Arthur told her that she would soon rvda \a. Vrx 



own caxriitgd through very iliilmnt sc^Hipa, yrhva oil thmc fimriliw 
crpcriiniw!!' would Lave vtuiiiilicd nway, she looked trighUrnnl. &n^ 
when he substituted her father lor hcrei-U, and told her huw hv wouhl 
ride in lus carriage, and how great aod gnuid he wonhl hv, Uer tous 
uf joy and iimoci'iit pride- fell fast. Seeing that the happinins hfc 
mind could reaUsc vms all shining u^n him, .Irthur kept that sngli 
tigore before her; and so thcj- rode bnghtly tUrough the poor stnwto il 
thr prison neighbourhood, to carry Kim the great aisyns. 

■When Mr. Chivery, wlio was on duty, admitttnl tliinn into 0>M 
Lodge, ho Mw something in their faces which filled liim witli atto- 
nuituuent. He stood lookuijj aflor thorn, when thoy bunicd int« llM 
prison, as though he peroeivod that they hud come back aecompniusj 
by u ghoat a-pic-ce. Two or three Collegians «-hom thry poModi 
li>t>kiMl after them too, mid presently joining Mr. Cliivcry, fonnnd I 
Ultiv. group oQ tlie Lodge ftejKi, in the midst of t*hu;h then iponte 
neously originated a whisper that the Father was going to get bd 
dischoi^. Within a few minutes, it woa lieaid In bho Kootari 
room in the CoUcgc. 

Little I>orrit opened the door from witJiout, ntid thry both entered 
Hu was Bitting in his old grey gown, and IiU old black cap, t> tfal 
Buolight by the window, reading his newspuper. His gloMca <ron 
in his hand, and he liad just luuki-d round ; surprieed at tint, no <baU 
by her 3t«p u^ion the etairs, not expecting her until night ; aur^riad 
ugnin, by (leeing Arthur Clennnm in her company. As tbcy cata 
the »inie unwonted look in both of theiu which hail nlrriu^ a 
attention in thn yard below, stniek him. He did not nw or ^ 
but laid down his gluvjes and his uowspapcr on the table tiundc 
and looki.'d at tliem with Uis month u littlu o|>en, and his lt|» 
When Arthur put out his hand, ho touehed it, but not witb bis 
state; and then he turned to hni daughter, who had mt dowa 
bt^de him with her handu upon his shoulder, und looked ■ItfBtJTil 
in her face. 

" Father 1 I have been made so happy this motuiug! " 

'■ Tou hove boon made si> happy, my denr ? " 

" By Kr. Cleuiam, father. He brought me snch joyftii and i 
dcrful intelligence about you ! If he bad not, with his greal Idiui 
and gentleness, prepared me ti>r it, liiLher — pnrpared lac for it, btla 
I think I eould uot liave txirac it." 

Her agitation wu$ exoi-dingly great, luid ihc lean mlUd ilmra 
face. He put his hand suddiiily to lun Uturl, und luok^d at (UestiH 

" Coninoae yourself, sir," Rud Clenimni, " and lake a littk ti» 
think. To think of the brightest and nuMii Ibrtiinate nedisMa of 
AVi- hiiTe all hwrd of great surprisen of joy. Tbcy an not «t «& < 
air. Tlu'y mv rare, but not at an rod.'' 

"Mr. (.'leniiam? Not iit an tm\? Not at an cad for ■'* 

touchml hiniM'lf upon tlu^ brca«t, instead of xaj-ing " me." 

" No," returned Oennum. 

" Whnt surprise," he asked, keeping his left band ova hit In 
and then' ototiping in his trpceth, while witli hin right bond bit pmh 
glanMw exactly lin-«l on tlio tabic : " wliat such miqaiM cMl bo i 
•2" 



UITLE DOB&IT. 811 

"Let me answer with another question. Tell me, Mr. Dorrit, 
"what suipriBe would be the most imlooked for and the most accept- 
able to you. Do not be a&aid to imagine it, or to say what it 
^would be." 

He looked stedfastly at Clennam, and, so looking at him, seemed to 
change into a very old haggard man. The sun was bright upon the 
wall beyond the window, and on the spikes at top. He slowly 
stretched out the hand that had been upon his heart, and pointed at 
the wall. 

" It is down," said Clennam. " Gone ! *' 

He remained in the same attitude, looking stedfastly at him. 

"And in its place," said Clennam, slowly and distinctly, **are the 
means to possess and enjoy the utmost that they have so long shut out. 
Hr. Dorrit, there is not the smallest doubt that within a few days you 
will be firee, and highly prosperous. I congratulate you with all my 
soiil on this change of fortune, and on the happy future into which you 
are soon to carry the treasure you have been blest with here— the best 
of all the riches you can have elsewhere— the treasure at your side." 

With those words, he pressed his hand and released it; and his 
daughter, laying her hce against his, encircled him in the hour of his 
prosperity with her arms, as she had in the long years of his adversity 
encircled him with her love and toil and truth ; and poured out her 
fall heart in gratitude, hope, joy, blissful ecstacy, and all for him. 

" I shall see him, as I never saw him yet. I shall sec my dear 
lovCy with the dark cloud cleared away. I shall see liim, as my poor 
xnother saw him long ago. my dear, my dear ! father, father ! 
O thank God, thank God !" 

He yielded himself to her kisses and caresses, but did not return 
"t^liem, except that he put an arm about her. jN^either did he say one 
"^rord. His stedfast look was now di\dded between her and Clennam, 
^md he began to shake as if he were very cold. Explaining to Little 
X>orrit that he would run to the coffee-house for a bottle of wine, 
.Arthur fetched it with all the haste he could use. "WTiile it was 
iDcing brought from the cellar to the bar, a number of excited people 
Ctoked him what had happened; when he hurriedly informed them, 
"tliat Mr. Dorrit had succeeded to a fortune. 

On coming back mth the wine in his hand, he found that she had 
X^laced her father in his easy chair, and had loosened his shirt and 
xicckcloth. They filled a tumbler with wine, and held it to his 
Xips. When he had swallowed a little, he took the glass himself and 
Emptied it. Soon after that, he leaned back in his chair and cried, 
'\nih his handkerchief before his face. 

After this had lasted a while, Clennam thought it a good 
Reason for diverting his attention from the main surprise, by relating 
its details. Slowly, therefore, and in a quiet tone of voice, he ex- 
plained them as he best could, and enlarged on the nature of 
f ancks's service. 

"He shall be — ha — ^he shall be handsomely recompensed, sir," said 
the Father, starting up and moving hurriedly about the room. " Assure 
yourself, Mr. Clennam, that everj^body concerned shall be — ^ha — shall 
1)6 nobly rewarded. No one, my dear sir, shall say thai \i!^ Xxs^ «il 



812 UTTLB BOBKIT. 

unsatisfied claim against me. I shall repay the — ^hum — the advances 
I have had from you, sir, with peculiar pleasure. I beg to be informed, 
at your early convenience, what advances you have made my son." 

He had no purpose in going about the room, but he was not still a 
moment. 

" Everybody," he said, " shall be remembered. I will not go away 
from here in anybody's debt. All the people who have been — ha — 
well behaved towards myself and my family, shall be rewarded. 
Chi very shall be rewarded. Young John shall be rewarded. I par- 
ticularly wish, and intend, to act munificently, Mr. Clennam." 

" Will you allow me," said Arthur, laying his purse on the table, 
'' to supply any present contingencies, Mr. Dorrit ? I thought it best 
to bring a sum of money for the purpose." 

" Thank you, sir, thank you. I accept with readiness, at the 
present moment, what I could not an hour ago have conscientionsly 
taken. I am obliged to you for the temporary accommodation. 
Exceedingly temporary, but well timed — well timed." His hand had 
closed upon the money, and he carried it about with him. " Be eo 
kind, sir, as to add the amount to those former advances to which I 
have already referred ; being careful, if you please, not to omit adrmnoet 
made to my son. A mere verbal statement of the gross amount is all 
I shall — ^ha — all I shall require," 

His eye foil upon his daughter at this point, and he stopped for a 
moment to kiss her, and to pat her head. 

"It will be necessary to find a milliner, my love, and to make a 
speedy and complete change in your very plain dress. Something; 
must be done with Muggy too, who at present is — ha — barely rosjKTt- 
able, barely respectable. And your sister, Amy, and your brother. 
And my brother, your uncle — poor soul, I trust this will rouse him — 
messengers must be despatched to fetch them. They must be informiMl 
of this. We must break it to them cautiously, but they must bt* 
infonnod directly. We owe it as a duty to them, and to ourselvi^, 
from this moment, not to let them — hum — not to let tliem do 
an}'thing." 

Tliis was the first intimation he had ever given, that he was privy 
to the fact that they did something for a livelihood. 

He was still jogging about the room, with the purse clutched in his 
hand, when a great cheering arose in the yard. ** The news has 
sj)r('ad already," said Clennam,- looking down from tlie window. 
*' Will you show yoursc'lt'to them, Mr. Dorrit? They arc very earnest, 
and thcv evidentlv wish it." 

*' I — hum — ha — I confess I could have dcsin^d, Amv mv dear," 
he said, jogging about in a more feverish flutter than before, ** to have 
made some chang(» in my dress first, and to have bought a — hum — a 
watch and chain. Ihit if it must be done as it is, it — ha — it must be 
done. Fasten the collar of mv shirt, mv dear. ^Nfr. Clennam, would 
you oblige me — hum — with a blue neckcloth you will find in that 
drawer at vour elbow, liutton mv coat across at the ehc^t, mv love. 
It looks — ha — it looks broader, buttoned." 

AVith his trembling hand he pushed his grey hair up, and then, 
taking Clennam and his daughter for supporters, appeared at the 



LITTLE DORRIT. 313 

^window leaning on an arm of each. The Collegians cheered him very 
lieartily, and he kissed his hand to them with great urhanity and 
protectiQU. "When he withdrew into the room again, he said ** Poor 
creatures ! " in a tone of much pity for their miserahle condition. 

Little Dorrit was deeply anxious that he should lie down to compose 
himself. On Arthur's speaking to her of his going to inform Fancks that 
he might now appear as soon as he would, and pursue the joyM 
bosiness to its dose, she entreated him in a whisper to stay with her, 
until her&ther shoiild he quite calm and at rest. He needed no second 
entreaty; and she prepared her father's hcd, and hogged him to lie 
down. Por another half-hour or more he would he persuaded to do 
nothing hut go ahout the room, discussing with himself the proha- 
bilities for and against the Marshal's allowing the whole of the 
priBoners to go to the windows of the official residence which com- 
manded the street, to see himself and family depart for ever in a 
carriage — which, he said, he thought would he a Sight for them. But, 
gndoally, he hegan to droop and tire, and at last stretched himself 
i9<m the hed. 

She took her faithful place heside him, fanning him and cooling 
liis forehead ; and he seemed to he falling asleep (always with the 
aumey in his hand), when he unexpectedly sat up and said : 

" Mr. Clennam, I heg your pardon. Am I to understand, my dear 
or, that I could — ha — could pass through the Lodge at this moment, 
and — hum — ^take a walk ? " 

** I think not, Mr. Dorrit," was the unwilling reply. " There are 
certain forms to he completed ; and although your detention here is 
lio'iy in itself a form, I fear it is one that for a little longer has to be 
ol>a€rved too." 

^t this he shed tears again. 

* * It is hut a few hours, sir," Clennam cheerfully urged upon him. 
** A few hours, sir," he returned in a sudden passion. ** You talk 

▼€3i^ easily of hours, sir ! How long do you suppose, sir, tiiat an hour 
^ "^ a man who is choking for want of air? " 

Xt was his last demonstration for that time ; as, after shedding some 
^*^Cfc»o tears and querulously complaining that he couldn't breathe, he 
"J^'Vrly fell into a slumber. Clennam had abimdant occupation for his 
J^^^ghts, as he sat in the quiet room watching the father on his bed, 
'^ the daughter fanning his face. 

Xittle Dorrit had been thinking too. After softly putting his grey 
"^ aside, and touching his forehead with her lips, she looked towards 
inr, who came nearer to her, and pursued in a low whisper the 
ject of her thoughts. 

* * Mr. Clennam, will he pay all his debts before he leaves here ?" 
"•No doubt. AU." 
** All the debts for which he has been imprisoned here, all my life 

kmger?" 

•*Ho doubt." 

^Ihere was something of uncertainty and remonstrance in her look ; 
^^**»iething that was not all satisfaction. He wondered to detect it, 
*»^Baid: 

*' Ton are glad that he should do so ?" 



814 

"Axe joaV aakad little Borrit, wutftiUy. 

''Ami? Moatbesrtilj^iid!" 

''Then I know I oofl^t to be." 

" And ne yon not?" 

" It seems to me hud," uaA Little Donit, "tbit Ke dioald berv* 
lost so many yens and sidBered so much, and at last psy all the defalk 
as welL It seems to me hard that he should pay in nb and annH 
both." 

"My dear diild — " Clennam was beginning. 

" Yes^ I know I am wrong," efae pleaded timidlj, "don.*t tUnkai^ 
worse of me ; it has grown op with me here." 

The prison, which could spal so many things, had taiated Titflpw 
Darxit's mind no more than this. Engendered as the^ocmfliauai 



in eompasBion fbr the poor prisoner, her fiither, it was the fiist ■psck 
Clennam had ever seen, it was the last speck Clennam erer aaw, cTIha 
prison atmosi^re upon her. 

He thought this, and forbore to say another word. WiQi tti 
thought, her purity and goodness came before him in their brig^tait 
light. The httle spot made them the more beantiftd. 

Worn out with het own emotions, and yidding to the sileiifie of ttt 
room, her hand slowly slackened and fiuled in its Ihnning 
and her head dropped down on the pillow at her futhei^a 
Clennam rose softlr, opened and dosed the door withont a sooad, 
passed firom the prison, carrying the quiet with him into the tnbiikBl 
streets. 



CHAPTEE XXXVI. 

THE MASSUALSKA BECOMES AN ORPHAX. 

And now the duy arrived, when Mr. Dorrit and his family were 
leave the prison for ever, and tlie stones of its niuch-trodilen pavcmc 
were to know them no more. 

The interval had been short, Init lie had greatly complained of 
lenp^h, and had been im|M>rious with Mr. Kug^ touching the dd 
He hml been high with Mr. Itu;;^, i\i\d had threatened to emj 
Home one else. He had requested Mr. Uu^p: not to pri'sume npon 
])lacc in which he found him, but to do his duty, sir, and to d 
with promptitude. He liad told Mr. Uujrg that he knew i 
la^i-yers and agents were, and that he would not submit to imposi 
On that gentleman's humbly representing; that he exerti^ himself t 
utmost. Miss Fanny was verj' short with him ; desiring to know 
less he could do, when he had been told a dozen tinu*s that money ir 
object, and expressing her sus))ieiou that he forgot whom he tallr 

Towanls the Marshal, mIio was a ^lurshal of many years' sta 
and with whom he had never had any previous difference, Mr. 



LITZLB DOB&IT. 315 

^^omp<»:ted himself with seyeriiy. That officer, oa pcrsoikally tender- 
Xng hifl oongratulationBy offered the free use of two rooms in his house 
i(« Mr. Dorrit's occupatioa imtil his departure. Mr. Dorrit thanked 
him at the moment, and replied that he would think of it ; hut the 
Varwhal was no sooner gone than he sat down and wrote him a cutting 
note, ill which he remarked that he had never on any former occasion 
had the honor of receiving his congratulations (which was true, though 
indeed there had not heen anything particular to congratulate him upon), 
and that he hogged, on hehalf of himself and fEunily, to repudiate the 
ManhaVs <^6r, with all those thanks which its disinterested character 
and its peifiect independence of all worldly considerations demanded. 

Althoogh his hrother showed so dim a glimmering of interest 
in their altered fortunes, that it was very doubtful whether he 
vadentood them, Mi. Dorrit caused him to be measured for new 
raiment by the hosiers, tailors, hatters, and bootmakers whom ho 
called in ion himself; and ordered that his old clothes should be taken 
tnta him and burned. Miss Fanny and Mr. Tip required no direction 
i& making an appearance of great fashion and elegance ; and the three 
passed this interval together at the best hotel in the neighbourhood 
— tho«§^ truly, as Miss Fanny said, the best was very indifferent. 
In GOBnezion with that establishment, Mr. Tip hired a cabriolet, 
hone, and groom, a very neat turn-out, which was usually to bo 
obeerved for two or three hours at a time, gracing the Borough High 
Street, outside the Marshalsea courtyard. A modest little hired 
chariot and pair was also frequently to be seen there ; in alighting 
from and entering which vehicle, Miss Fanny fluttered the Marshal's 
daughters by the display of inaccessible bonnets. 

A great deol of business was transacted in this short period. Among 
other items, Messrs. Peddle and Pool, solicitors, of Monument Yard, 
were instructed by their client Edward Dorrit, Esciuirc, to address a 
letter to Mr. Arthur Clennam, enclosing the sum of twenty-four pounds 
nine shiUings and eightpence, being the amount of principal and interest 
computed at the rate of five per cent per annum, in which their client 
believed himself to be indebted to Mr. Clennam. In making this 
coBmranication and remittance, Messrs. Peddle and Pool were further 
instructed by their client to remind Mr. Clennam, that the favor of the 
advance now repaid (including gate-fees) had not been asked of him, 
and to infiflrm him that it would not have been accepted if it had been 
openly proff(»ed in his name. With which they re<iucsted a stamped 
receipt, and remained his obedient servants. A great deal of business 
had likewise to be done, within the so-8oon-to-be-ori)haned Marshalsea, 
by Mr. Dorrit so long its Father, chiefly arising out of applications 
made to him by Collegians for small sums of money. To these he 
reiponded with the greatest liberality, and with no lack of formality ; 
always first writing to appoint a time at which the applicant might 
wait upon him in his room, and then receiving him in the midst of a 
vast accumulation of documents, and accompan3ring his donation (for 
he Bttid in evary such case, '' it is a donation, not a loan") with a great 
deal of good counsel: to the effect that he, the expiring Father of the 
Marshalsea, hoped to be long remembered, as an example that a man 
night prawnre his own and the general respect even thece. 



i\9 UTTLK Domirr. 

The Colli^pans were not envious. Bctsides that they lifld a wi — 

nnd tradiUonal regard for a, CoUi^an of to many yean standiog, tb« 
event was creditable to the College, and made it fmnoas in the Anr*- 
papen. Ferh^M more of them thongbt, too. than were ({mUf i 
of it, thnt the thing might in the lottery of i^hnnees liavc hap[>cned to 
themselves, or that Mimething of the sort might yet hnpp4!n to tlieiii* 
nelvea. Home day or other. They took it vi^ry well. A few wen U»W 
nt the thought of being h-ft hohinil, and being left poor; but t 
these did not grudge the fomily their brilliaDt rcverw. Thsra '"■n*t 
have been much more envy in politer plaoea. It eceme probnliln that 
mediocrity of fortune would have been disposed to bo less ma g nnn im- 
tlinn the Colle^anfl, who lived from hand to mouth — fi*i>m the pawn* 
broker's hand to the day's dinner. 

They got iip an address to him, which they pre«ented in ■ nnt 
fhtmo and glans (though it was not afterwards displayed in the fninttt' 
mansion or pi'eaerved among the family papers) ; and tn which he 
returned a gracious aiisTvcr. In that document he aMiuvd ibein, in m 
Itoyol manner, that he received the profession of their att«ehiit«lt 
with a full conviction of its sincerity; and ngaio generally exbott(4' 
tliem to follow his example — which, at lesst in bo far ae coming iat« v 
great projier^wns concerned, there is no doubt they would hiivc g'Udlf 
imitated. He took the same oecnaion of inviting Ihcm t^ a oiimp<<^ 
hensive cntertaiTmient, to be given to tbe whole College in the jiai, 
and at which ho signified he would hare the honor of lakuig A 
parting glaAS to the health and happiness of nil those whom lui « ~ 
about to leave behind. 

He did not in person dine at this public repast (it took plac« at f 
in the afternoon, and his dinners now citme in from the hotel at nx)^ 
but his son was no good as to take the head of the prtnci|Hil tabW, a 
to lie very frw and engaging. He himself went olmut amon^ t 
company, and took notice of individuals, and snw that tfaiO vna 
were or the quality he had ordered, and that all were serrtd. < 
the whole, he wa* like a baron of the olden time, in ■ nn go 
humour. At the eonclusion <jf Ihc i-epast, he pledged his gw«ti> in a 
bumper of old Slodrim; and told them that he ho))e(l tlii-y hiul oujoyt^ 
thpm»elvc«, and what was more, that they wonld enjoy thrmsolvi- 
the rest of the evening ; thnt ho wished them well ; and ttuit ht- 
' tlirm welcome, Hia health being drunk with occlnnmtiotii, he i 
not HO tiaronial aAor all but that iit trying (o return thiuike hi' Imki 
down, in the manner of a mere serf with a heart in his hreart, 
wept before them all. After this greot snec 
bo a fiitlure, ho gave them " Mr. Chivery a 

whom ho had belbmhand presented with ten pound* each, and wbl 
were all in attendnnce. Mr. Chivery •poke to the I 
^TiBl you undertnlte to lock up, lock up ; hut remember that J 
are, in the words of tlie felten-d Africiin, a man and a brotlwr «n 
The list of toaxta disposed of, Mr. Dorrit urbanely went through ti 
motions of playing a game nt skittles with the Collegian wlia wait ti 
next oldest inhabiUnt to himself; and left the tenantry- tn IIm 

Bn^ allftwa cepiawaow weoaaBd tta tod dw. AaatWrtJI 



s. which he nippusn) ti 
1 his brother ufliciT* ; ' 



LTITLE DO&RIT. 817 

arriYcd when he and his family were to leave the prison for ever, and 
when the stones of its much trodden pavement were to know them 
no more. 

"Noon, was the hour appointed for the departure. As it approached, 
there was not a Collegian within doors, nor a turnkey absent. The 
latter class of gentlemen appeared in their Sunday clothes, and the 
greater part of the Collegians were brightened up as much as circum- 
stances allowed. Two or three flags were even displayed, and the 
children put on odds and ends of ribbon. Mr. Dorrit himself, at this 
trying time, preserved a serious but graceful dignity. Much of hh 
attention was given to his brother, as to whose bearing on the great 
occasion he felt anxious. 

" My dear Frederick," said he, ** if you will give mc your arm, we 
will pass among our friends together. I think it is right that we should 
go out arm in arm, my dear Prederick." 

" Hah!" said Frederick. ** Yes, yes, yes, yes." 

"And if, my dear Frederick, — if you could, without putting any great 
constraint upon yourself, throw a little (pray excuse me, Frederick), 
a little polish into your usual demeanor " 

" William, William," said the other, shaking his head, ** it's for 
you to do all that. I don't know how. All forgotten, forgotten ! " 

"But, my dear fellow," returned William, "for that very reason, if 
for no other, you must positively try to rouse yourself. What you 
have forgotten you must now begin to recall, my dear Frederick. 
Your position " 

** Eh?" said Frederick. 

" Tour position, my dear William." 

''Miner" He looked first at his own figure, and then at his 
brother's, and then, drawing a long breath, cried, ** Hah, to be sure ! 
Xcs, yes, yes." 

'*Your position, my dear Frederick, is now a fine one. Your 
position as my brother is a very fine one. And I kuo\v that it belongs 
to your conscientious nature, to tr}- to become worthy of it, my dear 
Frederick, and to try to adorn it. To be no discredit to it, but to 
adorn it." 

** William," said the other weakly, and with a sigh, "I will do 
anything you wish, my brother, provided it lies in my power. Pray 
be so kind as to recollect what a limited power mine ii«. What would 
you wish me to do to-day, brother. Say what it is, only say what 
it is." 

** My dearest Frederick, nothing. It is not worth troubling so good 
a heart as yours with." 

**Pray trouble it," returned the other. "It finds it no trouble, 
Wiliiam, to do anything it con for you." 

William passed his hand across his eyes, and murmured with august 
satisfaction, ** Blessings on your attachment, my poor dear fellow I " 
Then he said aloud, "Well, my dear Frederick, if you will only try, as 
we walk out, to phew that you are alive to the occasion — that you 
think about it " 

"AVhat would you advise mc te think about it ? " returned his 
submissive brother. 



318 UTTLE DOBBIT. 

'' Oil ! my dear Frederick, how can I answer yon? I eaa only say 

what, in leaving those good people, I think mysdf." 
" That's it ! " cried his brother. " That will help me." 
'' I find that I think, my dear Prederick, and with mixed emotions 
in which a softened compassion predominates, What will they do 
without me ! " 

" True," returned his brother. " Yes, yes, yes, yes. Fll think 
that as we go. What will they do without my brother ! Poor things ! 
What will Siey do iRathout him ! " 

Twelve o'clock having just struck, and the carriage being reported 
ready in the outer courtyard, the brothers proceeded down stairs arm- 
in-arm. Edward Dorrit, Esquire (once Tip), and his sister Fanoj 
followed, also arm-in-arm ; Mi\ Plomish and Maggy, to whom had 
been entrusted the removal of such of the family effects as were con- 
sidered worth removing, followed, bearing bundles and burdens to be 
packed in a cart. 

In the yard, were the Collegians and turnkeys. In the yard, 
were Mr. Pancks and Mr. Kugg, come to see the last touch givcm 
to their work. In the yard, was Young John making a new epitaiih. 
for himself, on the oocasion of his dying of a broken heart. ^''^ 
the yard, ^-as the Patriarchal Casby, lookmg so tremendously beoo- 
volent that many enthusiastic Collegians grasped him fervently ^^ 
the hand, and the wives and female relatives of many more Ccr^^^ 
gians kissed his hand, nothing doubting that he had done it all. 
the yard, was the usual chorus of people proper to such a 
In the yard, was the man ^vith the shado>vy grievance respecting 
Fund which the Marshal embezzled, who had got up at five in 
morning to complete the copying of a perfectly unintelligible hist^^^^ 
of that transaction, which he had committed to Mr. Dorrit's care a^ 
document of the last importance, calculated to stun the Govenun^?^^ 
and effect the Marshal's downfal. In the yard, was the insolvc^^^^ 
whose utmost energies were always set on getting into debt, w^^^ 
brok<? into prison with as much pains as other men have broken out ^^" 
it, and who was always being cleared and complimented ; while tl»^ 
insolvent at his elbow — a mere little, snivelling, striving tradesmai^f 
half dead of anxious efforts to keep out of debt — found it a hard 
matter, indeed, to get a Commissioner to release him with mucli 
reproof and reproach. In the yard, was the man of many children and 
many burdens, whose failure astonished everybody ; in the yard, was 
the man of no children and large resources, whose failure astonished 
nobody. There, were the people who were always going out to- 
morrow, and always putting it off ; there, were the people who had 
come in yesterday, and who were much more jealous and resentful of 
this freak of fortune than the seasoned birds. There, were some who, 
in pure meanness of spirit, cringed and^ bowed before the [enriched 
Collegian and his family ; there, were others who did so really because 
their eyes, accustomed to the gloom of their imprisonment and 
poverty, could not support the light of such bright sunshine. There, 
' were many whose shillings had gone into his jiocket to buy him meat 

and drink ; but none who were now obtrusively Hail fellow well 
met ! vdth him, on the strength of that assistance. It was rather to 



• « 



m *■ 



•'-» 



{ 



UTTLE DORRIT. 319 

lemaiked of the caged birds, that they were a little shy of the 
nd about to be so grandly free, and that they had a tendency 
"withdraw themselves towards the bars, and seem a little fluttered 
lie passed. 

^Through those spectators, the little procession, headed by the two 
others, moved slowly to the gate. Mr. Dorrit, yielding to the vast 
E^onlation how the poor creatures were to get on without him, was 
E>at, and sad, but not absorbed. Ho patted children on the head 
-« 1^ Soger de Coverley going to church, he spoke to people in the 
c^kground by their Christian names, he condescended to all present, 
<3 seemed for their consolation to walk encircled by the legend in 
Lden characters, " Be comforted, my people ! Bear it ! '* 
-At last three honest cheers announced that he had passed the gate, 
^ that the Harshalsea was an orphan. Before they had ceased to 
ng in the echoes of the prison walls, the family had got into their 
rriage, and the attendant had the st<!])s in his hand. 
Tlicn, and not before, " Good Gracious ! " cried Miss Fanny all at 
c», " Where's Amy ! " 

JELer father had thought she was with her sister. Her sister had 
3ught she was "somewhere or other.'' They had all trusted to 
.ding her, as they had always done, quietly in the right plac^e at the 
;lit moment. This going away was perhaps the very first action of 
Bir joint lives that they had got through without her. 
^ minute might have been (lonsumcd in the ascertaining of these 
Lnts, when Miss Fanny, who, from her seat in the carriiig(\ 
nomanded the long narrow passage loading to the Lodge, fiuslicd 
lignantly. 

** Now I do say, Pa," cried she, " that this is disgraceful ! " 
"What is disgraceful, Fanny?" 

**I do say," she repeated, ''this is perfectly infamous! Really 
most enough, even at such a time as tliis, to make one wish one was 
<*d! Here is that child Amy, in her ugly old shabby dress, which she 
IS 80 obstinato about, Pa, which T over and over again begged and 
a}icd her to change, and which she over and over again objoeted to, 
^promised to change to-day, saying she washed to wear it as long 
®ver she remained in thei'o with you — wliich was absolute romantic 
'^^eiisc of the lowest kind — ^liero is that child Amy disgracing us, to 
' last moment and at the last mom(»ut, by being carried out in that 
^ after all. And by that Mr. Clennam too ! " 
*-Ho offence was proved, as she delivtred tlie indictment. Clennam 
^^^^rcd at the carriage-door, bearing the little insensible figui-e in 

She has been forgotten," he said, in a tone of pity not free from 
'^t>ach. " I ran up to her room (which !Mr. Chivery showed me), 
J ^und the door open, and that slio had fainted on the floor, dear 
•■d- She appeared to have gone to change her dress, and to have 
'^ doiem overpowered. It may havc^ been the cheering, or it may 
'*^ happened sooner. Take care of this poor cold hand. Miss Donil. 
^'t let it fall." 

. Thank you, sir," returned ^Miss Dorrit, bursting into tears. " I 
^^Vc I know what to do, if you'll give me leave. Dear Amy, o\)ca 



820 LinLB ookeit; 

your eyes, that* s a lore ! Oh, Amy, Amir, I leally am so Teud 
ashamed! Do rouse yourself, darlmg! Oh, why are fbey not driTiiig 
on ! Ptey, Pa, do dnve on ! " 

The attendant, getting between dennam and the caziiage-door, 
with a sharp " By your leave, sir ! " bundled up the steps, and fhcy 
drove away. 



THX mm OT THX UBS! BOOK. 



BOOK THE SECOND. 



RICHES. 



CHAPTER I. 

PlfiLLOW TRAVELLERS. 

In the autumn of the year. Darkness and !N^ight were creeping up to 
the highest ridges of the Alps. 

It was vintage time in the valleys on the Swiss side of the l^ass of 
the Great Saint Bernard, and along the hanks of the Lake of Geneva. 
The air there was charged with the scent of gathered grapes. 
Baskets, troughs, and tuhs of grapes, stood in the dim village doorways, 
stopped the steep and narrow -village streets, and had heen carrying all 
day along the roads and lanes. Grapes, spilt and crushed under foot, 
lay ahout everywhere. The child carried in a sling by the laden 
peasant- woman toiling home, was quieted with picked-up grapes ; the 
idiot sunning his big goitre under the eaves of the wooden chalet by 
the way to tiie waterfall, sat munching grapes ; the breath of the cows 
and goats was redolent of leaves and stalks of grapes ; the company in 
every little cabaret were eating, drinking, talking grapes. A pity 
that no ripe touch of this generous abundance could be given to the 
thin, hard, stoney wine, which after all was made from the grapes ! 

The air had been warm and transparent through the whole of the 
bright day. Shining metal spires and church-roofs, distant and rarely 
seen, had sparkled in the view; and the snowy mountain-tops Rad 
been so clear that unaccustomed eyes, cancelling the intervening country, 
and slighting their rugged height for something fabulous, would 
have measured them as within a few hours' easy reach. Mountain- 
peaks of great celebrity in the valleys, whence no trace of their 
existence was visible sometimes for months together, had been since 
morning plain and near in the blue sky. And now, when it was dark 
below, though they seemed solemnly to recede, like spectres who were 
going to vanish, as the red dye of the sunset faded out of them and left 
them coldly white, they were yet distinctly defined in their loneliness, 
above the mists and shadows. 

Seen from those solitudes, and from the Pass of the Great Saint 
Bernard, which was one of them, the ascending Night come up the 
mountain like a rising water. When it at last rose to the walls of the 
convent of the Great Saint Bernard, it was as if that weather-b(^aten 
structure were another Ark, and floated away upon the shadowy 
waves. 

Darkness, outstripping some visitors on mules, had risen thus to 
the rough convent walls, when those travellers were yet climbing the 
mountain. As the heat of the glowing day, when they had stopped to 
drink at the streams of melted ice and snow, was changed to the 



'Mi-i LllTLK DOUaiT. 

st'aR-hiiig cold of the frosty rarefied niglit air at a gn-at height, so \\l 
fresh iKuuty of the lower journey had }-ielded to barrenness and dcs« 
lation. A craggy track, up which the mules, in sin;;le file, scrambli 
and turned from block to block, as though they were ascending tl 
broken staircase of a gigantic ruin, was their way now. No ti*ees wi'M 
to he s<'en, nor any vegetable growth, save a poor brown scrubby nios 
freezing in tlu^ chinks of rock. Blaeken(>d skeleton anns of wi>hI ) 
the wayside pointed upward to the convent, as if the ghosts uf f4>rm"B 
travellers overwhelmed by the snow, hauntid tlu' si-ine of i\i- 
distress. Iciele-hung caves and cellars built for n-fugts iVuni su<ld« 
storms, were like so many whispers of the perils of the ])lae«' : nevr 
nesting wreaths and mazes of mist wandered alKUit, hunted by 
moaning wind ; and snow, the besetting danger of the mountain 
against which all its defences were taken, drilteil >liar]dy down. 

The tih? of mules, iadid bv their dav*s work, turned an<I wouik- 
slowly up the stiK'p ascent; the foremost led by a guide on fix»t. in IH 
bmad-brimmed hat and round jacket, earning a mountain .•^tatf t- 
two upon his shoulder, with whom another guide converse d. Tlure w: -. 
no speaking among the string of riders. The shai*]) cold, the fatigue t 
the journey, and a new sensatiim of a catching in the brialh. |.»artly ;« 
if they had just emerged from very clear crisp water, and partly a.-* s 
they had Im en snlibing, kept them silent. 

At length, a light <»n the summit of the ri»cky >tairease gh-ame 
through the snow and mist. The guide** called to the mule-*, ih 
inules ]>ricked up their dr(Ki])ing heads, the travellers' tDngue* w«r" 
!«"»-ened. aii'l in a Midd»n binM of ^lippiiii:. elimbinu'. jiiiirlii::;. 'liiik:!:.-- 
.'ud talking, tiny arrived at llie •■»»iive]iT door. 

Other niule> liad arrived not lonir iM-fori , ^-nie with jm.-...^: .::.'.. t 
and some with ;j«»' «1>. ami had trodden tin- >now almrit lip- «!■•..!■ in* 
-jMMil of nind. IJitling >addli "* and britlh-i. jiaik->;nl«lH < a'hi -'li!:,- 
'mIK. iiiiil" "^ and nun, l:niteni<. t«»rr]h^. sa k^. ]Ji-«\ei:ii» :•. ?..:ri' '. 
! hi •■>«,<. ki-^ ol" h'Muy and hutti-r, >traw l»un«lli - ;:nil ]i.Mk!;:i- 
!ii;inv -liaiii ^. wiii- eniwdeil ennfu'iedlv t"L:« tlur in tlii^ t^..^\' 
ijM.i.u'niin-, and iih.iai tlie <tep-:. I'p Inn- ii: th-- « l-ii-l-i. •^«.; 
thing wa> -eeu thrMU;:li elmid. and m i na d iii'--Mi\iiii; int* »'..*.' 
Tin- breath «'f the n.i n w.i"* ehiud, the liii iitli mI' th«' n.:.!« - ■*. 
. hiiiil. tin- liuht^ A\« !*( i nt'in led by elnud, »^)«'ak« i-* « li-t- a! i: .!.' 'a- ' 
n-i? SM n I'M" ( Iniiil. thiiiiLili thiir \.»iit< mid .til -.ti.tT -• u' ■'.- v • 
Mii.n-inL'lv eh:ir. Oi" th'- « i'»ndv liii« •.i" n.ult > !i:e'!i!v ti'-i ••■ • •.- 
in the w.-.l!, one -w-iiild hit*- an-'ihi-r. nr KIi), :i!;.i'i:« r, .;:;.'• ''n- : •: 
•'. h'lh- nii^t uu'dd !.•■ <Ii-i!irh«d: ^\i*h nun •li\!!i.:: '•'.!.» it. .li-l 'i-- 
. I'M :in«l l"".i^t^« '"lui!".' ont ofit. a'ld iiulivt:'nd«!" 'ii*-- • riiinu u *' :! v. 
v.pin'/. In til'- mid-* •'!' ^h\^, tia .:n.it -t:ihlr •'!" :;■.• < .:.\.*. ■• 
!•'. i!iir tie- ]i.i>i inMii >tiiry. and intMi-l \t\ tii- ■•.:-.; •.* 

• ,t -id'' \\iii«]i all th.- di'..id«!- \v;i-. ;. nii •! i'.-r:'', :•- . ■:;•';'■.•. • 

• I-.ii'l. :i> if tin- wlinh rn*.:i:< d I ditii • \-. ii- i:'.!* d w i'ii i. ■■•!.■• j .-" . 
■■.-...ill! loliiji-.- .1^ -.i-i;i ;•.- i* lr«.| »::.;.:i. .1 iImIi. i-. ■.\i'.2 lij -: *•» ' 
*■•!'» t:|i»ji tie- h.ire niM',:!,t.iin ^iiai'j.i:. 

Whih : 11 thi- l.-.i-i- .::'l !iu!:;. w :• !:!•■ .in- ' . :'. • ! •. .Z 
•i.r. ■ ;!• i>. th' i« . t'l.i. ^-.li ntiv ::«--«' i:.":-'.-'! '.i. .: l:' t' ! »■■•.-. ' ..: 
•J'./' n pu«« ^ n niovcd, with the ^.«ni" w -ud • M'Miiij: :!.i :.». .i.-i ■.'-.•. 



LITTLK DOHAIT. 3S5 

low flakes drifting in upon them, were the dead travellers found 
he nw)untain. The mother, Rtorm-bclutcd many winters ago, 
anding in the comer with her baby at her breast ; the man 
d frozen with his arm raised to his mouth in fear or hunger, 
essing it with his dr}- lips after years and years. An awful 
ly, mysteriously come together! A wild destiny for that 
to have foreseen, " Surrounded by so many and such com- 
I upon whom I never looked, and never shall look, I and 
ild will dwell together inseparable, on the Great Saint 
1, outlasting generations who will come to see us, and will 
aiow our name, or one word of our storj' but the end/' 
living travellers thought little or nothing of the dead just then, 
[lought much more of alighting at the convent door, and warm- 
smselves at the convent ftrc. Disengaged from the turmoil^ 
was already calming down as the crowd of mules began to be 
cd in the stable, they hurried shivering up the steps and 
e building. There was a smell within, coming up from the 
if tethered beasts, like the smell of a menagerie of wild 
s. There were strong arched galleries within, huge stone 
great staircases, and thick walls pierced \N~ith small sunken 
ra' — fortifications against the mountain storms, as if thoy 
len human enemies. There won' gloomy vaulted sleeping 
within, intensely cold, but clean and hospitably prepared for 
Finally, there was a i)arlor for guests to sit in and to sup 
jre a tabic was already laid, and where a bhizing fire shone rt^l 

lis room, after having had their quarters for the night allotted 
I bv two young Fathers, the travellers presently drc^w round the 
They were in three parties ; of whom the first, as the most 
lus and important, was the slowest, and had bc^n overtaken by 
the others on the way up. It consisted of an elderly lady, two 
lired gentlemen, two yoimg ladies, and their brother. These 
^tended (not to mention four guides), by a courier, two footnieu, 
ro waiting-maids: which strong body of inconveuieuce was 
lodatcd elsewhere under the siime roof. Tlie party that liad 
en them, and followed in their train, consisted of only threi^ 
re : one lady and two gc^ntlemen. The third party, which hiwl 
d fit)m the valley on th(^ Italian side of the Pass, and had 
first, were four in number : a plethoric, hungry', and silent 
1 tutor in spectacles, on a tour with three young men, his 
all plethoric, hungry, and silent, and all in i>iK'Ctacles. 
e three groupes sat round the fire eyeing each other drj'ly, and 
; for supper. Only one among them, one of tlu^ gtjntleinen be- 
: to the party of three, mndti advances towards convci*satioTi. 
ng out his lines for the Chicff of the important tribe, while 
ing himstrlf to his own companions, he remarked, in a tone t>f 
hich included idl the company it* tht^y chose to be include<l, 
had been a long day, and that h(^ felt for the hwlies. That he 
me of the young ladies was not a strong or accustomcxl traveller, 
d been over fatigued two or three hours ago. Tliat he had 
d, from liis stittion in the rear, that slui sat her m\xUi tiA \i id^ 






LITTLK nOKKlT. 



wcTc rxluiusii '1. That ho hml, twice or t liriic altcrwanK dono hini«f— 
\\u' ln)i;«)r t»l' rju|iiirin.ir olniu* lA' the «rui«hs when hi' li-ll bthind. h«» 
th»' y-'iiiii; Ijuiy 4i<l. That lie ha<I hwn enchanted to k'am that .-I 
had I'tMiiviTi'il hiT spirits, and lluit it had ho'^'n hut a j>ass*iii«r di- 
rnnitort. 'I'liat he ini^n-d :hv this time he had >eeure«l the ove? «»f ll 
Chii't', and a»hhH'^.-( d lii:u ' lie nnji:ht hr ])erniitteil to exjin'**** his h"| 
ihal sh«' "wa-' nn\v nn]ir tlie Wi»r>e, and that she would not n-ij't^ 
havini: \\v.\t[*' tlii" i^'iirnev. 

* 

" Mv daiiirh'tr. 1 atn «>hlii»<'d to vou. sir," returned the C-hiel*. " 
initj' re^i«>i' li. ami ha> heen j^n'atly interest<'d." 

•* yrw '.'» jMouiitain«4 jM'rhapsy " said the insinuatin** traveUer. 

•• \< w to — lia — to niountains," said the Chief. 

•• Ii.it Ynii iM'c I'aiJiiliar with them, ^h'f'^ the insinuating irave!!- 
a •^'l^u U. 

" I an^ — hr.m — i<>hral>ly I'amiliar. Not of hite yeai*s. Nf»T of hit- 
".■«ar",'* n'licil tin* Chief, with a tlnuri*-h tA' his hand. 

Thi" 'n-i:!ii.:ti:i;» tiMVilhT, ackuDwh^dirini; the t!i»uri««h with ;in iir: 
liiiiation <'f liis ]icad, iKe<ed I'mm the Cldef to lhf» se'-oud voiini; huh- 
whc» had ni»i vet heen referred to. eth« rwi>e than a> oue of the ladii 

« 

in wlioM' Ifhili" In- h'lt so ^ensitivr an irit«*rest. 

Ill" I'.tpu-rl ^hr w;i^ not ini'«minod<'d hv the fatiijueJ* of the day. 
'• luco:i'Modt el «(r;ainlv." r*'tnrni'd thr youui; lailv, ••huinot tirtnl.' 
Th.* i!i^i:'.;itiii:: ir.'N'ller eimi])liuiented h<'r on the ju-stii-e of ih 
disiiacti ii. It was what he had meant to sav. Kvin' hulv nui-^ 
lonlith N^ Uv iniominnded, hy having: to do with that pl'o^erhia^y ui.- 

•J 'M.'ii'.n- •■'. ::!••■;.• ai»i!r:d, til-- !Milh'. 

•• \Vi- :..:'.( had. iH I'dinse," '•.nd iln* yoiinir hidv. who wa> latt. 
ve-i. ;\i li .;'! I !;:i.i':!;tv, ** to h-ivi- th.f eart'i-Jm < and lour^i-in at .Mar'.iL") 
And Jill- iMi.o^-ii'ilitv <»f hi'inuinir aTivthini;- tliat ttiw want*- t.. 'ii 
iiia«T.--i'i!.- iil;u«', ;ind thi- nii(»-ilv nf Ii':i\ iiii: • vrrv » '*mli»rt hi hii.i 
i"» iiot < Mir.-iiii-nt .*' 

" \ •«.i\ ••:.■ )il.ii«'. '"i.i. ll!." <aid tlw in-iinna'ir.LT travernr. 

'I In- ri'ii :iy !a'l\, w-i.i w.i* a niodrl nf .•iiiiir.il'- dn --in::, and whi^-* 
:nani:> J" u.i-. |j'?'li<f. r-i!-iihi"i*d .-i*; a ]»ii !■»• of mai-hinrr_\. h.irriri'-*- 
ji»-ri| a ii'ni.irlv in .» Kav nil vnicr. 

•• ilii». iil.i- ••ihir iiM MiiMiii' lit ]»l;ui^." -he M-iM-rxnl, "it mu-* i 
'i-i-n. .\ - a :«'•!! !• I'-ueh -jK-ki ;i i>}. il i- ntiM--sjrv to <«•«• it." 

••nil! i !i.'.. \\'»' tis-' l,:i^t ••hjritiiii 'll Miini; ii. I a-<nr«' y«-'.. 
*di--. <;.ii -.i." ri'iiini'l iIm- ".th! r. «arih— 1\. 

" V-.ii. •• M'lain." -si i 'hr ifj>i:iM.«ii!;i; *.ra\rlhT. *" liave \ ;• !T»ii th • 

•• ^l -." r. 'i!i;.<.l M:-. (ni.-r.;!. '" 1 Ii-im iu-.n la-r-' fx-lun-. !•' 
Ml.- !•••' main- II I \i."i, i!'\ m .ir. ' lo 'h« '.uniii r vtmnir hidv, ••!•»-: .i i- 
\>t\\v I'M (• iVi in "III- h«i* \\i""d. .slii r I \ji'i^:i:,' :., thr niouniiriri air .i' i 
-I'.w. ^ i.;i 'i! .. i!,v di ;.r." Ill th •liipi- M!iii \oun'j:»-!' iadv. \* ' 
•.ninuMli:!'. :\ <! <l - • ; N>iii'f tl,. liijiMf r in.;iiv -.lid. '" rii.iiik \''. 
^Ij--, (i-.i'-.L, I :.: ' :i'ii..'v • Jiif irt.-.l'!'-, .ii'i :»ri h-r r« main;::.: - 
I am." 

"i h« "!■:■■':" r, V.'.: . ii:' 1 I- i'; h!- « h.iir i.» "jm:! i piano that siiv.-l in : • 
roiiij. :r .| wii.i h.iil v, lii^:Ii.l into it ..'id -iiut it up a'^ain. n-v^ ■ .» . 
-•I'lris" ', .'■ ' • I <"'•■ •:!■.• \\i*ii lii-^ 111 I— ii: lii- »'M-, Hi- wa- o:!--^-.! 



>« 

n... 



h- 

ft 



rn- 

- V. 



r v.- 



II 



Ll'lTLE DOURIT. :\'27 

the very fullest and completost trav(?lliiig trim. The world scorned 
liardly large enough to yield him an amount of travel proportionate 
"to his equipment. 

"These fellows are an immense time with supper," he drawled. 
*' I wonder what they'll give us I Has anybody any idea?" 

*' 15'ot roast man I believe," replicnl the voice of the second gentle- 
znan of the party of three. 

" I suppose not. What d'ye mean ? " he enquired. 
** That, as you are not to be served for the general supper, perhaps 
you will do us the favor of not cooking yourself at the general fire," 
returned the other. 

The young gentleman, who was standing in an easy attitude on the 
liearthy cocking his glass at the company, with his back to the blaze 
and his coat tucked under his arms, something as if he were of the 
poultry species and were trussed for roasting, lost countenance at this 
reply ; he seemed about to demand further explanation, when it was 
discovered — through all eyes turning on the speaker — ^that the lady 
^th him, who was young and beautifal, had not heard what had 
pmssed, through having fainted with her head upon his shoulder. 

** I think," said the gentleman in a subdued tonci, ^* I had best can*}' 
lier straight to her room. WiU you call to some one to bring a light ? " 
addrening his companion, *^ and to shew the way ? In this strange 
TamUing place I don't know that I could find it." 

** Pray let me call my maid," (rried the taller of the young ladies. 
''Fray let me put this water to her lips," said the shorter, who had 
not spoken yet. 

Each doing what she suggested, there was no want of assistance. 
Indeed, when the two maids came in (escorted by the courier, lest 
any one should strike them dumb by addressing a foreign language 
to them on the road), there wiis a prospect of too much assistances. 
8ccing this, and saying as much in a few words to the slighter and 
younger of the two ladies, the gentleman put his wife's arm over his 
idioulder, lifted her up, and carried her away. 

Hia friend, being left alone with the other visitors, walked slowly 
up and down the room, without coming to the fire again, pulling his 
black moustache in a contemplative manner, as if he felt himself com- 
mitted to the late retort. Wlule the subji?ct of it was breathing injury 
in a comer, the Chief loftily addressed this gentleman. 

"Your friend, sir," said he, ** is — ha — is a little impatient; and, in 
his impatience, is not perhaps fully st^nsible of what he owes to — hum 
— to— but we will waive that, we will waive that. Your friend is a 
little impatient, sir." 

" It may be so, sir," returned the other. " But having had the 
honor of making that gentleman's acquaintance at the hotel at Geneva, 
where we and much good company met some time ago, and having had 
the honor of exchanging company and eonv(srsation with that gentle- 
man on several subsequent excursions, I can hear nothing — no, not even 
from one of your app<»anmce and station, sir — detrimental to that 
gentleman." 

** You are in no danger, sir, of hearing any such thing from me. 
In remarking that your friend has shown impatience, I say no «u&^ 





328 i-HTLK DOKUIT. 

thing I make that ri'ir.avk, bocausc it is not to be doubted that 

sou, being by birth and I y — ha — by education a — hum — u gentlei 

would have readily adapted himself t